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TOS: The Case of the Colonist's Corpse, by Bob Ingersoll, Tony Isabella Book Review | SFReader.com
TOS: The Case of the Colonist's Corpse, by Bob Ingersoll, Tony Isabella Genre: Star Trek Publisher: Simon and Schuster Published: 2004 Review Posted: 6/9/2005 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 7 out of 10
TOS: The Case of the Colonist's Corpse, by Bob Ingersoll, Tony Isabella
Book Review by Jeff Edwards
Have you read this book?
Federation citizens and Klingons struggle for control of a world, and escalating tension leads to murder in The Case of the Colonist's Corpse. Under the terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, Aneher II in the Neutral Zone will be awarded to whichever group can best develop the planet's resources. So when Mak'Tor, head of the Klingon colony, is found kneeling over the dead body of Daniel Latham, head of the Federation colony, it seems like an open and shut case of a bitter rivalry gone too far. But defense attorney Samuel T. Cogley - best known for representing Captain Kirk at his court-martial - is determined to uncover the truth.
In The Case of the Colonist's Corpse, Bob Ingersoll and Tony Isabella take some minor characters from an episode of the original Star Trek series and then build a Perry Mason-style courtroom drama around them. But characterization - or lack thereof - is one of the main problems with the novel. The necessity of presenting enough suspects to create a "mystery" leads to one-dimensional personalities that border on the ridiculous. Apparently, everyone on Aneher II wants to kill Daniel Latham: His chief mining engineer takes a swing at him; the colony's computer expert threatens him - even Latham's wife pulls a phaser on him during an argument.
Sam Cogley is the perfect candidate to solve the murder case: He prefers pen and paper to computers, and collects antique books - just like Latham did. Such convenient knowledge serves Cogley well as he identifies a key piece of evidence in Latham's study. One wonders if Cogley would be considered such a great legal mind if he had to defend a case that didn't involve old books or faulty computers.
The story's all-too-brief bright spot is a cameo by Kirk, Spock and McCoy that lasts for less than twenty pages. But since they act like pale imitations of themselves, and serve no real purpose in the novel, their short appearance is little relief. The authors deftly describe Kirk's difficult past within a few paragraphs, but otherwise, they can't seem to decide whether to make this a book for Trekkies or for newbies: Their handling of Trek trivia fluctuates from countless inside references that quickly become annoying ("as sour as Andorian ale gone bad," "as colorful as Coronation Day on Troyius") to sentences that read like something from a Star Trek primer ("Vulcan, where Spock was raised, was home to a race of extremely logical beings. They hid their emotions whenever they could").
With its stylized retro cover art, The Case of the Colonist's Corpse looks like a fun way to spend a few hours. But its wooden writing, paper-thin characterization, and bad dialogue prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you can't always judge a book by its cover.
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