Code of Conduct, by Kristine Smith

code-of-conduct-by-kristine-smith coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Morrow William and Co
Published: 1999
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Book Review by Aaron M. Renn

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This is a very solid outing for a first novel. In the first few pages I noticed a typical amateur writer’s penchant for flowery wording, but either I adjusted to it or it rapidly faded. The rest of the book was a fairly well done and an interesting mystery.

Jani Kilian was living under a false identity on a backwater world because she was wanted for a few past crimes. Her past catches up with her in the form of Evan van Reuter, a former lover who needs her to return to Earth in order to track down the killer of his ex-wife Lyssa. Jani is the only one Evan trusts, and also is an expert document technician who would be able to sort through the paper trail that might solve the crime. She reluctantly agrees, and soon finds–of course–that there is much more to this than meets the eye.

The good: lots of the tough, hard edged characters that I like, a fairly interesting alien culture, the unusual societal focus on documentation, the fact that some things are not resolved but in a manner that doesn’t necessarily require a sequel, and the good plot twists as Jani unravels the mystery.

The bad: a few cliches, a couple plot holes, and a spoiler on the back cover that actually contains information I didn’t recall reading directly anywhere in the text.

If you like a good hard boiled detective story, you’ll probably like this book. Though I must confess I probably cheated just a little to rate this books four stars. I couldn’t resist because it was a first novel, and because the author lives near me (Chicago) and is such a babe. But if I cheated, it was only a tiny bit.

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