Title: Standard Hollywood Depravity
Author: Adam Christopher
Genre: Science-Fiction / Mystery
The moment Raymond Electromatic set eyes on her, he knew she was the dame marked in his optics, the woman that his boss had warned him about.
As the band shook the hair out of their British faces, stomping and strumming, the go-go dancer’s cage swung, and the events of that otherwise average night were set in motion. A shot, under the cover of darkness, a body bleeding out in a corner, and most of Los Angeles’ population of hired guns hulking, sour-faced over un-drunk whiskey sours at the bar.
But as Ray tries to track down the package he was dispatched to the club to retrieve, his own programming might be working against him, sending him down a long hall and straight into a mobster’s paradise. Is Honey still the goal—or was she merely bait for a bigger catch?
Just your standard bit of Hollywood depravity, as tracked by the memory tapes of a less-than-standard robot hitman.
Got permission from my editor to post the Gamecca book reviews here. The reviews in the magazine have a max 200 word count so I’m expanding.
The cover for the book was what really drew me into picking the book. The synopsis was also intriguing, the first story I’ve read about a robot hitman. Especially in wondering just how the conflicting programming would affect a seemingly easy job. He’s a robot right? He shouldn’t be going against his programming. That’s what gave this noir mystery a good twist.
The novella is a first person telling of Raymond Electromatic’s mission to take out his target, a girl by the name of Honey. The whole story happens over the course of one night. As it happens and unfolds, it becomes apparent that Raymond is a regular, heartless robot just following some inner programming. He’s almost human in his thoughts yet there’s no doubt he’s a machine. The machine part of him is what’s really fascinating, trying to blend in with his human counterparts while internally struggling with that very fact. It brings up the age-old sci-fi question: How human are self-aware artificial intelligent robots?
Fantastically written, Adam Christopher recreates the dark, dangerous era of the mafia. Tinged with Go-Go dancers, British rock boy bands playing to an American crowd while hulking, shadowed, hired guns all wait for something big to happen. The world is unraveled one character and event at a time, painting a picture of the setting where the story takes place. A number of characters swirl about, all building towards an intriguing end that I did not see.
Standard Hollywood Depravity is witty. It’s astute. Sadly, it’s too short. However, it is a novella about a continuing saga began in Adam Christopher’s L.A. Trilogy so I’d have to read those for more of this really great story.
Rating: An enticing 4 out of 5