Monday, June 30, 2014


Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an easy early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, Koko finds the most challenging part of her day might be deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her.

BOOKLIST starred review

Booklist: Great fun and a fine introduction to an author with a distinctive voice. Expect more from Shea, perhaps in multiple genres. Set five centuries into the future, this debut novel begins in a resort complex called The Sixty Islands, where elite brothel owner Koko Martstellar narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Fleeing to the orbital community known as the Second Free Zone, Koko is astonished to learn that her old friend, Portia Delacompte, is behind the assassination. And while Koko is trying to figure that out, Portia is trying to figure out something just as baffling: Why did she order the death of her friend (her memories concerning the hired hit seem to have vanished). This futuristic wild ride starts out quickly and doesn’t really slow down until it’s over. You would think such a breakneck pace wouldn’t leave much time for character development, but you’d be wrong; Shea skillfully weaves characterization into dialogue and into the thoughts and actions of the people in the novel. The use of the present tense certainly helps make the story feel urgent and immediate, too: we get caught up in Koko’s predicament and are carried along with her as she desperately tries to keep herself alive until she can track down her would-be assassin.

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