In his introduction Stableford concedes that these novels aren't his finest work and that to an extent he cut his writing teeth on them. It's true, the first couple aren't that hot, but Stableford must be a quick study, because things improve rapidly.
The books are a mixture of outright space opera and detective story. They come complete with a spaceship pilot hero who has picked up an unwelcome but very useful alien parasite on one of his journeys.
Our space pilot, Grainger, is cynical and world weary, the same as many a private eye. In essence that's his job, to travel to strange worlds, meet interesting people (and aliens) and solve problems. Preferably without having to shoot too many of the people or aliens. Frankly, Grainger knows too much, knows he knows it, and is suitably arrogant to boot. But he learns and becomes more likeable with time.
Overall, these are interesting books with a central character that develops as his author develops. Not Stablefords best, but still entertaining reading.
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