Made To Kill by Adam Christopher (book review).

March 18, 2016 | By | Reply More

I was sitting in my lounge, a book in my hand, reading in the yellow glow of the standard lamp. The book was a hard back, all yellow and red with the face of a steely private eye staring at me from the cover beside the silhouette of a dame with a duffel bag. By now, I knew what was in that bag, having read the first couple of chapters. Already, I was captivated by the story woven by Adam Christopher, the story of Ray Electromatic, the last robot in the world who works as a private detective in 1960s Los Angeles. I flicked over another page and it rustled with the kind of quality you only get from a real book. ‘Made To Kill’ was an absolute joy to read, as I was about to find out.


Compared to some of the cases I’d taken on the past, this one was going to be a cinch. There was nothing I disliked about the book. I wouldn’t have to struggle through hundreds of uninteresting pages and think of something constructive to say. Outside the French doors, a black cat stalked past. It was that annoying tom cat from down the road. I banged on the window to chase it away and it trotted off, pausing to look back at me before casually spraying its scent on the corner of the shed and then leaping over the fence. I returned my attention to the book, where Ray Electromatic was playing the role of a noir detective to perfection, imbued with a light-hearted robotic twist that sometimes called to mind Douglas Adams but more often so thoroughly engrossed me in the story that there was no room for comparison.

I sat back and reviewed what I knew of the plot, turning the facts over in my mind, searching for the key. Ray’s memory tape only lasts for a day, so every morning he has to be briefed by Ada, the supercomputer secretary. But what happened during the six hours when his battery is being recharged and his memory tape replaced? Why has he been hired to assassinate a Hollywood star? Where did the unmarked gold ingots come from? What is the significance of the newly refurbished Hollywood sign? I was going to have to wait until the end of the book to find out. I took a sip of tea. It had gone cold.

As the plot developed and Ray’s background was filled in, I began to appreciate the way his unlikely existence is explained in a perfectly reasonable way. The author was clever. Maybe too clever. The book was an absolute joy. Maybe I had lost my edge.

I checked into the background of Adam Christopher. He seemed to have appeared from nowhere in 2012 and subsequently written a more-than-feasible amount of novels. I was going to have to check them out. As I reached the end of ‘Made To Kill’ I realised it wasn’t the end. Two more volumes had been planned. As midnight struck and I closed the last page, I knew that my involvement with Ray Electromatic wasn’t over. I didn’t know where and I didn’t know when, but one thing was for sure. When the next volume was published, I’d knew be reading it.

Gareth D. Jones

March 2016

(pub: TOR/Forge, 2015. 234 page small hardback. Price: $24.99 (US), $28.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-7918-4)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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