Kop Paperback – 29 Apr 2008
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|Paperback, 29 Apr 2008||
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"Gritty and steamy, Hammond's "KOP" is both a throwback to the glory days of hard-boiled action thrillers and a prescient vision of the next place where technology and human frailties will intersect. Its blood-specked armor-plating gradually---and impressively--reveals a genuine heart." --K.W. Jeter, bestselling author of "Bladerunner 2: The Edge of Human" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Warren grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Upon obtaining his teaching degree from the University at Albany, he moved to Colorado, and settled in Denver where he can often be found typing away at one of the local coffee shops. Warren is known for his gritty, futuristic KOP series. By taking the best of classic detective noir, and reinventing it on a destitute colony world, Warren has created these uniquely dark tales of murder, corruption and redemption. KOP Killer won the 2012 Colorado Book Award for best mystery. Warren's latest novel, Tides of Maritinia, released in December of 2014. His first book independent of the KOP series, Tides is a spy novel set in a science fictional world. Always eager to see new places, Warren has traveled extensively. Whether it’s wildlife viewing in exotic locales like Botswana and the Galapagos Islands, or trekking in the Himalayas, he's always up for a new adventure. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Most of the story's action takes place in Lagarto's capital city of Koba.
The planet's entire police force, Kop, is corrupt starting at the top with Koba Police Chief Paul Chang, who along with close friend and the story's protagonist Juno climbed into bed with the city's crime lord Ram Bandur over twenty years ago.
Together they tore through the city, leaving a path of destruction as both criminals and kops were left with a simple choice work for us or go to jail. Paul arrested his way to the top with Juno as his temper stricken enforcer. Now they run the city but things are about to change, there is a new mayor with big plans and cleaning up kop is high on his agenda.
Juno's violent enforcing days are behind him, a dirty kop whose only duty now is collecting protection money as a vice kop, hiding a shaking right hand that threatens his career and living with his partner Niki who also hides a violent past.
Juno has a chequered history, the back story of how he and Paul rise from lowly detectives to running kop is fed to us gradually through the book and makes for interesting reading.
Whilst under heavy scrutinization by the Mayors anticorruption faction and his own chief of detectives Paul asks Juno to investigate the murder of an Army officer, partnering him with a rookie, a rich, clever and straight policewoman Maggie Orzo.
The Mayors office want the case dropping, something is not right, can Juno and his partner put the pieces together while the powers that be meticulously plan to wipe each other out once and for all.
Juno is an easily accessible character, an antihero that could have been the villain but his decisions make him believable in a compelling way, very likeable, his loyalty to Paul is unwavering right up to the end. The story is very well written, world building is excellent, you can just imagine the slum town floating on the flood plain as the jungle forever fights to claim the city and the offworlders with incredible technology, perfect in every way. There is enough twists and turns to maintain a frenetic pace throughout, no shortage of violence and character development is handled superbly.
I already have the second and third novels Ex-Kop and Kop Killer and will be reading soon after this thoroughly impressive debut.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In brief: KOP is a dark delight with a conscience.
I also loved the world of science fiction. But I was torn, as most of us were in those days, between two polarities. Robert A. Heinlein wrote hard-edged science fiction that mostly came true over the next sixty years. Andre Norton wrote a more fanciful type of science fiction that didn't mire itself in emerging technology or social stratification that could come about because of it. She just imagined wild and fun places to plunk her heroes down in and give them villains to defeat.
There was nothing like a hard-fisted private eye on the trail of a strong villain when rendered in the muscular prose of someone like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett. Also, there was nothing like sitting back envisioning future worlds built and peopled by gifted science fiction writers.
I would read books in one field, then switch over to books from the other field. During those days, it seemed like the two literary genres would never meet. At least not successfully.
After reading the description of KOP, Warren Hammond's first novel, I knew I had to try it out. It had all the earmarks of the fiction I love to read in both fields.
The main character is Juno Mozambe, a corrupt cop that still has enough humanity about him to win over readers who are familiar with film noir. Juno could have stepped from one of those books or movies that came out when that top of tale was in its heyday. He's a very complete character by those standards, and Hammond plays him fairly all the way down the line. In fact, that character could have been lifted from the book and thrown into Prohibition-era Chicago, Mafia-infested New York, or San Francisco's Chinatown Tong stories and fit perfectly.
Juno has worked his way up through KOP (Koba Office of Police) by supporting and defending Paul Chang, who is the police chief. Chang taught Juno everything there was about corruption. Juno became a bag man for the police department, going to drug dealers and cathouses to collect bribe money.
But there's currently a power struggle going on inside the upper echelons of the Koba society. This is usually the meat of any film noir story that involves political office, crime syndicates, and evolving economic problems.
Hammond brought Juno to life well. Within ten or fifteen pages, I felt I'd known the character all my life. He could've been one of the characters Humphrey Bogart would have played in the movies. But the reader isn't bogged down with Juno's backstory all it one time. Rather, that story seems to be sipped through very thin straw. Readers are only given enough about Juno to keep them interested and let them know the stakes that he's playing for as the story develops.
The corruption is there. The political favors are there. The organized crime guys are there. This book doesn't miss a beat when it comes to that tough guy image. It even pairs Juno with a young female rookie cop with something to prove to the world ala Dirty Harry.
Maggie Orzo is a young woman descended from the wealthiest families on Koba. She's young and idealistic, but Juno also finds out that she will pursue her own ambitions and passions, which include being one of the best and highest-ranking policeman in the department. I think she's a very impressive character and I can't wait to see how Hammond treats her in the sequel coming out sometime next year. It's supposed to be called Ex-KOP.
Hammond's world, Koba, came to life for me in this book as well. I tried to imagine what it would be like to have a world constantly on the verge of being swallowed up by the jungle that fought to reclaim all the civilized areas every day. On Koba, there's only five hours of sunlight followed by a twenty-two hours of night. The predominant life form on the planet tends to be reptilian and tropical. Hammond's descriptions of an everyday life that includes street cleaners using flame throwers to torch creeping vegetation, stratified canopy life among the trees, and the Koba River that flows through everything anchored me to this world. By the time I'd finished reading the book, I felt like I'd actually gone to an alien world and spent hard time there.
The economic disparity between the haves and the have-nots addresses today's world, but also any Third World nations struggling to simply survive. Past successes of the culture live on in the city, but the desperation of those who've never had that taste of success is palpable. These are the common threads that run through every culture in the world today, and that have ever existed. Hammond obviously loves writing about the ideology of economics and class struggle.
Although experienced readers probably won't find anything new in this novel, it's still an amazing read. I picked it up, turned through a few pages, and was walking a beat on alien turf with a damaged and paranoid police detective that I at first abhorred and later came to love and respect. KOP went down as smoothly as a cool drink on a hot, summer day, and it was filled with enough twists and turns to keep me on my toes throughout.
As stated, Hammond already has a second book in the series in the works. Personally, I can't wait. Although the first book finished up all the plots that the author had shaken out, there are still yet a number of problems and character actions to work out. Not to mention, Hammond built the world big. There should be a lot more stories here to tell. I just hope he gets to tell them all.
I love the dialogue in this novel. The language, pace, and rhythm of the conversation feels realistic. The story moves along at a rapid pace, but still takes the time to get to know the characters. Most of all, Hammond seems to have some real insight into the way people think and react to various situations. There is a streak of optimism in his writing, even though the situations his characters find themselves in is pretty challenging. In that way, the book is uplifting.
I enjoy good crime novels, and I like good science fiction. This is a winner on both counts!