In a stolen space yacht, three people have been found eviscerated, the grisly signature of an alien vengeance killing. Moments later, the border patrol halts another ship launched out of the moon's orbit. Its passengers are two human children, kidnapped by the most ruthless aliens in the universe. Both ships are linked to a woman on the run: a Disappeared relocated to the inhospitable landscape of Mars. A reluctant outlaw with a bounty on her head and a detective on her case, she's about to teach all of them a lesson: it's dangerous to gamble with your life in a universe that rigs the game.
Listen to more in the Retrieval Artist series.
©2002 White Mist Mountain, Inc.; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"A masterful writer is at work." (Orson Scott Card)
"Top 10 Greatest Science Fiction Detective Novels of all Time." (io9.com)
"If you love puzzle mysteries, crime novels, well-invented sci-fi worlds or stories about characters you can believe in and care about, you owe it to yourself to give Rusch's Retrieval Artist novels a try." (Orson Scott Card)
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I am late to the Retrieval Artist banquet, but happily pigging out now! There are many deserved good reviews for The Disappeared so I'd be tempted not to take the time, but I enjoyed this book so much that I just have to add my plaudits to both Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Jay Snyder, the narrator, as well as my thanks to Audible for bringing this to me.
If I rated this book as a police procedural/detective mystery, I'd probably rate it 4.5 stars - police procedural believable and fairly interesting, mystery nicely plotted, very clever, and a little twisty, but not as sophisticated as some. If I rated this book as strictly science fiction, I would probably rate it as 4.5 stars also - terrific detailed world building, no big science blunders, but little hard science. However, The Disappeared is much more than a Sci-Fi Detective Mystery; it is a book that has all the elements for seriously great fiction. When you combine that with top-notch narration from Jay Snyder, you have an audio book that I could hardly stand to it turn off - truly stellar!
* Engaging, believable characters. Men and women who have unique personalities that extend beyond body type or looks; varying levels of intelligence, talents,and flaws; complex emotional and psychological make-ups; diverse backgrounds, ages, and socio-economic levels. It's tough to write good fiction in any genre without good characters and yet it is especially difficult to find good characterizations in science fiction - particularly for female characters.
* Interesting plot - science fiction lends itself to good plots which is one of the reasons I like the genre, but much of it is about colonization and/or battles. I have enjoyed many space exploration type plots, but Rusch's plotting is more about the challenges of life after the initial survival hurdles have been made in space and it was a nice change of pace.
* Setting - The Disappeared takes place primarily in the domed city of Armstrong on the Moon, but Rusch also lines out the politics and the aliens across known colonized space. Her descriptions of Armstrong made me feel like I was there.
* Prose - evocative, but not effusive; truly readable and keeps the story moving.
* Themes - I think all good fiction has to be entertaining, but not all fiction has to give "food for thought". But, if a fictional story makes you think that's a big bonus and there's plenty to ruminate on in The Disappeared. We already know that human societies enact and enforce laws differently. (There are Americans imprisoned in various places around the world for doing things that would not be illegal in the USA.) In Rusch's universe with multiple alien peoples, there is a group that finds death so abhorrent that a person who comes in contact with a dead body is subjected to a cleansing ritual that includes evisceration; a group that takes retribution not on the offender but on his/her loved ones; and a group that subjects even minor offenders to hard labor. You could just avoid contact with those groups to stay out of trouble, but what if they have something really marketable (what if North Korean sat on all the world's diamonds or oil)? The capitalism that lives in most human hearts will find a way to trade for something they want even if there is a great risk in doing so. What if what you believe is moral is illegal - and, you are a cop? What if your style works to make you effective at your job, but keeps getting you into political trouble - can you/should you change?
I listened to two more in The Retrieval Artist series before I could make myself stop to write a review and I am still totally taken with Rusch's writing and her universe. "Retrieverse" keeps expanding in interesting and unusual ways and Flint and DeRicci continue to evolve and grow. As a great topper, Jay Snyder, nice narration/good characterizations, continues as the narrator throughout the series. Most sci-fi enthusiasts will enjoy The Retrieval Artist and most readers who appreciate finely crafted fiction independent of genre should be entertained.
Ok, I must admit this was actually my 2nd attempt at this book.
On my fist attempt I found the initial 20mins a struggle to get into - but with hindsight it was just the style of writing - with several story lines running in parallel.
Predominately this is a detective novel within a sci-fi framework. The writer twists several threads that come together at the finale.
I thoroughly enjoyed this - right to the end. Am definitely getting the next in the series and looking forward to seeing Flint progress. The narrator Jay Synder is great - reminds me of Scott Brick.
I had for some reason, held off on listening to any of KK Rusch's books and feel like I've been holding out on myself. Well, no more, holding back!
This was a really interesting book. Rusch has really thought about this idea and developed it so that it sounds plausible. Sort of like witness protection with quite a twist. The alien cultures the she has created sound scary, but also plausible, and I wanted to know more about them. Why do they think the way they do, how did their sense of justice develop, what do their worlds look like, and how do they live? There are just glimpses of these races, a tantalizing taste that piques the curiosity.
Character development starts of strong and just builds as the story continues. You care about these people, you want them to succeed. Also, the issues that are the heart of the story are frightening and look to be unsolvable. There aren't any nicely packaged solutions that are applied here. Here are imperfect solutions, sort of like real life.
I also greatly enjoyed Jay Snyder's reading. He has a voice that is easy to listen to, and if you really must know, he sort of "disappears" into the reading. Its as if you aren't really aware that someone else is reading the story to you.
Excellent read, I am looking forward to my next KK Rusch book!
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (sci-fi) - The Retrieval Artist series is set in a time where intergalactic commerce is in its infancy. Laws from other worlds are often broken by humans who didn't even know of the existence of the law. Alien enforcers come to collect human "criminals" and subject them to the punishment their world expects for those crimes. Thus, many humans decide to become "Disappeareds," seeking the help of agencies who give them new identities and new lives where they can evade alien law enforcement. Thus, the evolution of "Retrieval Artists," whose job is to find Disappeareds at the request of family members in emergencies or other special circumstances.
The main character, Miles Flint, is a police officer who has recently been promoted to detective. He is faced with alien enforcers from two different worlds who have come to collect their criminals. The only problem is, Flint and his partner aren't convinced that they've committed any sort of crime, at least according to earth standards, and decide to investigate for themselves. Everything about this book is unusual and interesting -- the aliens, the "crimes," the disappearances, the city on the moon under Armstrong Dome where the story takes place. It's all just a fresh new concept that's very well done. I look forward to hearing future books in this series.
PERFORMANCE - Good job. Reminds me a little of Scott Brick (another Audible narrator).
OVERALL (actual overall rating 4.5) - There's no sex, and I don't recall any profanity. There's not much violence and only one fairly grisly crime scene description. I'd recommend this book for adults, male or female, who enjoy sci-fi and detective work. It is Book 1 in the series, and you should definitely start at the beginning. The story can stand on its own, but there's lots of character development that will certainly carry into future books. (SLIGHT SPOILER: In the end Flint quits his detective job to become a Retrieval Artist, so I suspect Book 2 will begin his training in that profession).
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
This is a fast, interesting and well-developed novel with interesting aliens and a suspenseful plot.
There are some gaps where the story seems to jump and a major story thread gets concluded "behind the scenes" (i.e. we last see one character on the run from the police then at the end of the book we find out she's been relocated to Earth, but there is no indication of how or when this happened).
The narration is very good; the characters are distinctly voiced and I will certainly be reading more in the series.
Stolen children, betrayals, high stakes and murder - all the things a good mystery is made of only this mystery takes place in future time. Whether a person is a science fiction fan or not would not detract from enjoying this novel because Rusch gets the reader involved in the characters and also in trying to solve the mystery before Miles Flint, the cop. Flint, relatively new on the job, shows his skills to veteran partner to the point where she develops a respect for him that is earned. But in the end, Flint realizes the job isn't exactly what he's looking for and Rusch takes us into a different direction which she actually foreshadows very subtly in the beginning. The character development is good and the plot is intricate without being confusing. I found myself listening to the book in my garage when I would arrive home from work, unwilling to turn it off to go into the house. So for me, this was a book that pulled me in. And it made me want to buy other retrieval artist novels. Jay Snyder does a nice job of reading and bringing the characters to life. This is a good buy and a good read. I recommend it.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
Kristine Rusch has developed a great hook with this series, and she's joined with Jay Snyder as narrator to come out with a great new story arc--at last-a NEW SiFi story line.
Rusch writes tight dialog, both human and alien and Snyder does a wonderful job of inventing the aliens speech patterns and voices. Together they have a intriguing new idea that caught my attention in the first hour.
Other reviews have covered the story line so I won't-I just have encourage those who love good tight SiFi thats not based in uber tech but reads like it's just the normal day except hundreds of years in the future, to check this first novel out. As for me, I'm on to # 2
Somebody tell this author: if you are going to set your novel on the Moon THE GRAVITY IS ONE SIXTH OF EARTH'S! There is no explanation why people can run without bouncing high into the air, or be pinned in an overturned air car. I also loved that the moon colony's dome could "open" to allow space ships to land. What happens to the air in the dome? If there is a way to keep it from escaping, why do you need a dome? The clueless science is matched only by the endlessly meandering plot and the way too neat and way too easy happy ending.
I chose this book based upon the reviews at Audible and they were right, it is a very good listen. Jay Snyder turns in a very good performance bringing the characters to life and giving each one a uniqueness that makes them come alive.
This is the first book in a series that is currently up to 9 books, there is a lot of good reading here and it is a nice step away from the John Scalzi books I have been listening to.
What I like most about this book is how clear the main characters motives are, they are driven by things that make sense to me, their emotions feel real and easy to understand. They are very human.
In this universe Human’s have agreed to respect and uphold the laws of many different alien cultures. This has created a lot of problems for the police and the court systems because many of the alien laws, punishable in amazingly horrible ways, are not obvious to the humans who regularly break those laws accidentally by doing things that are not considered illegal by the humans.
Those that find themselves in trouble disappear; they change their identities and their lives to escape the alien punishments that await them. They spend the rest of their lives on the run from both the human and alien courts.
There are bounty hunters known as "Trackers" who hunt down the disappeared to bring them back to the courts while "Retrieval Artists" who search for the disappeared to help them in different ways.
"EXCELLENT MYSTERY SCI-FI."
FIRST IN THIS EXCELLENT SERIES,IF YOU LIKE MYSTERYS IN A SCI-FI SETTING YOU WILL LOVE THIS,THE CHARACTERS ARE UTTERLY BELIEVABLE.I BOUGHT BOOK TWO AS SOON AS I READ THIS.
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