– Extract from my review of Book 1 in this series.
I wanted to read LV48 as soon as its release was announced. Not only was it written by Matt Doyle, a highly active and positive member of the online LGBTQIA+ community, but the title was clearly a nod to Aliens – which happens to be on of my favourite movies.
This is the third book in the Cassie Tam series, a collection of futuristic crime noir stories set in the ever-fascinating city of New Hopeland. Manipulated and controlled by a complex criminal network, Doyle continues to work wonders as he explores New Hopeland’s shadowy underworld. It would be difficult to understand the intricacies of the plot without having read the first two, and so I hope readers pick up ‘Addict’ and ‘The Fox, the Dog, and the King’ before delving into LV48. That said, the author has done well to guide readers back into the city’s inner-circle.
This story is—much to my delight—a little lighter on Cassie’s internal monologue and heavier on dialogue and action. The scenes in set in the hospital were particularly exciting; a well-written climax indeed. There are some vague hints about Cassie’s past but, on the whole, characterisation stagnates a little in this instalment. This was fine though, because the focus was more to do with Fuerza’s tightening (or, perhaps, loosening) grip of the city. Cassie’s romance with Lori bookends the mystery plot, as it did with Book 2, acting as a soft form of cushioning for the reader. Given Hanson is a favourite of mine, I was excited to see her appear in more scenes (though, of course, I wanted to see her get a girlfriend). Doyle continues to provide imaginative and intricate detail regarding the operation of technology in his fictional world. In this case, he has concocted a rather magnificent exoskeleton used by the antagonist/s to attack their victims.
This series is palatable and well-executed on the whole. If you like old-school crime fiction (think Bogart or Ford) but with lesbians, mechanical vampires, and psychedelic light shows, then this is the book for you.
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