Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Koko Takes a Holiday

Koko Takes a Holiday, Kieran Shea, Titan Books, 2014

Set several hundred years from now, Koko Martstellar is a former corporate mercenary now enjoying retirement. She is a bar and brothel owner on the Sixty Islands, a manufactured resort specializing in sex and simulated violence. Life is good, until a squad of soldiers is sent to kill her.

The soldiers come from Portia Delacompte, Koko's former mercenary colleague. Koko kills the soldiers, and flees to the Second Free Zone, an independent group of arks, ships, and other structures for human habitation high in the sky. Portia's ambitious assistant, Vincent Lee, takes it upon himself to send a trio of female bounty hunters after Koko, even though such a thing is very illegal. A big problem is that Portia, who has "gone corporate" in retirement, honestly can't remember why Koko must die, only that her death is vital. As part of her corporate job, large parts of her long-term memory had to go.

The Second Free Zone is dealing with depressus, an endemic psychological disease. It is characterized by increasing levels of depression and wild mood swings, like an extreme case of "the blues." The sufferer is eventually compelled to commit suicide. To keep the suicides manageable, every so often, the authorities turn off the safety barriers, and let sufferers fall a very long way to their deaths. Koko meets Jed Flynn, a security officer and depressus sufferer who is part of the next suicide group. He helps Koko stay ahead of the bounty hunters, two of who are eliminated. They head back to the Sixty Islands, courtesy of a flying garbage truck. That is where Portia decides to take care of Koko, personally. Also, one of the bounty hunters is still on Koko's trail, and she still has a price on her head.

Here is a fast-moving, hard rocking excellent piece of writing. It has a cyberpunk feel to it, even though there is very little "cyber" in it. There is plenty of action, and I hope there are future books about Koko Martstellar.

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