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Tracing The Stars

I read mostly science fiction and romance, and often a combination of the two.

Fun, futuristic crime investigation sci-fi in the Big Easy

Core Punch: A Baker & Ban!drn Adventure: An Uneasy Future - Pauline Baird Jones, Alexis Glynn Latner

It was a dark and stormy night….


Actually, it was a category-five hurricane named Wu Tamika Felipe (yes, WTF) baring down on a futuristic New Orleans. Oh, and I should probably mention that New Orleans was a floating city, although the majority of the novel takes place in the old, ‘dirt-side’ New Orleans instead of the new floating city. This is a series, so I hope that the next book spends more time exploring the floating city.


That’s not to say that the dirt-side atmosphere wasn’t just as interesting. The author paints an easy to visualize picture of the old, abandoned city – falling into ruin, flooding as nature took back over and the few stubborn folk who refuse to leave. The hurricane adds to the atmosphere-building, which is a bit heavy-handed at times. We are reminded again and again how hot Louisiana can get and how windy a cat-five hurricane is. I think that, along with the pacing, kept me from reaching the OMG MORE level.

The book starts off in the POV of ‘Joe’ (whose real name is impossible to pronounce). I loved starting off the read in the head of the alien and hearing his take on everything. We are also introduced to Lurch, the nanite AI who resides inside Joe’s body. Their banter and Lurch’s commentary was some of the best bits in the book.


Joe’s partner, Violet, has her own POV chapters / sections in the book, and she was just as enjoyable to read. Often times, you end up liking one of the POV’s and not so much the other. I liked both main characters.


Although this was labeled science fiction romance, I think it was more science fiction with a romantic element. The romance was way in the back of the bus after the dead body, the investigation, Joe’s secret mission and, oh yeah, the huge hurricane. Although I wish there had been more romance (and I can see this being a complaint from romance-sided readers), it didn’t really bother me or take away from the book. It was still a good science fiction story, so I was satisfied.


This can also be considered a ‘clean’ or ‘sweet’ romance, as the highest level of heat achieved was a kiss and some smoldering glances.


What did bother me was the pacing. The book is a short read at 140 pages (according to Amazon), but it felt like it took forever to get through in spots. It almost felt like it was a novella storyline that had been fluffed by atmosphere. For example, at one point, it took them something like ten pages to go up some stairs and across a catwalk. I found myself skimming to get to the interactions and relationship building between Violet and Joe, or to dialogue, or to find out what happens.


Although I didn’t reach the OMG MORE level, I will be checking out the future books in the series, and I highly recommend them to any science fiction cop / crime investigation fans.


I was provided a copy by the publisher with the request for honest feedback.