Published by Tor on November 3rd 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Thanks to Tor for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I loved Made to Kill – it’s so completely different than anything I’ve read recently – I didn’t know what to expect and almost went into it negatively so it was a great surprise to enjoy it so much. Witty, well written and just downright good reading that made me laugh out loud. I’ve not read Adam Christopher before but I’ll certainly be taking a look back at his other work after this.
Set in an alternative 60s universe Made to Kill revolves around one central character, who just so happens to be a robot. In this version of 60s Los Angeles the technology was slightly more advanced than our own of that period and the Government created a programme to roll out robots across the country to take up dangerous or menial tasks. Unfortunately it was not a success and people railed against their jobs being taken over by robots. As a result the programme was scrapped and all the robots destroyed. All but one. Raymond. Part of a slightly different programme, Raymond and his super computer Ada survived the destruction and as part of an alternative exercise set up their own PI agency. The Electromatic Detective Agency. Well, it was a detective agency, until Ada discovered there was more money in the assassin business – so the EDA is now a front for Raymond’s alternative work.
I’m actually not going to talk about the plot at all. It starts out simple but pretty soon becomes anything but. It’s just a wonderful mash up that gets more bizarre as the story continues. A blend of noir detective, spies, sparkling Hollywood actors and actresses and twisted plots to take over the world – mwahahahah.
So what did I enjoy about this?
Well, I started reading and just couldn’t help having that voice in my head – the voice over that comes with your basic detective film. The jaded PI, sarcastic and gritty. I could have added a whole bunch of quotes for you but they’re probably more amusing read in context so decided not to. Basically, Ray is a funny guy and a great character to read. He made the book for me personally and everything else was just icing and cherries, of which there was no shortage. I mean, you can’t help wondering how you’re going to feel about a robot character – how can you become attached. Well, Ray isn’t perfect. Given the technological capabilities of the time he has certain restrictions – like a short memory. Ray’s memory is stored on tape and he only has a 24 hour storage. Like Cinderella, Ray has to return to the office before his time runs out to be backed up before he turns into a pumpkin – or forgets everything. On top of that, well, never forget that Ray is a robot. ‘He can’t be bargained with, reasoned with, feel pity remorse or fear, and he will absolutely not stop’ at any action he deems necessary. So be warned, he’s not soft and fluffy. And yet, I did like him. It started off just enjoying his phrases and descriptions, the way he describes his laugh, but definitely became much stronger. For example, because of the memory glitch Ray quite often finds himself running out of storage space at the most inopportune time – and it’s almost like he feels fear at those moments. He’s also trying to scrabble to remember things, even though he really can’t. And, he does become attached to people – which is difficult when you can’t remember them the day after you first met – plus, if you’re a robot you don’t have feelings.
Ada is Ray’s computer and is a bit of a smart ass. She’s the constant voice in his head and to Ray she’s a wise cracking, chain smoking, feet on the desk reading a magazine type of gal! It’s funny to read Ray’s version of Ada. She’s sharp, and, let’s not forget, she’s running the show really.
Now, add to all this a crazy mixed up plot, a strange mash up of Marlowe meets Bond, glamorous extras, car chases and spies with nefarious plans. I don’t know what’s not to like really.
I really enjoyed this, the era, the play on that era, the slight difference in terms of technology, the different play on the old fashioned PI and the writing. All together, thoroughly enjoyable. Please go and give it a go.