Review – Tropical Punch (Bubbles In Space) by SC Jensen

The blurb says Raymond Chandler et al would be turning in their graves at this noir sci-fi comedy thriller, but I think they’d be delighted, to be honest. You can see the pulp fiction influences all over this book, from the Nadsat-esque language (there’s a glossary at the back) to the hard-boiled heroine, who is a recovering alcoholic with a sarcastic robotic pig as a sidekick.

This is a fresh and lovely addition to a rain-soaked, violently murky genre which can take itself too seriously. Despite the day-glo, the constant partying, the lurid settings, there is an air of bleakness about HoloCity, of a world dying at the hands of criminals, greedy businessmen and corrupt police officers. This world is brilliantly realised and utterly convincing, with a complex plot and well-rounded characters to root for. I loved the boldness of this noir sci-fi, the goriness and gritty premise. For me, this was classic noir but with a 21st century twist and I loved reading it.

Could the plot have been a little less convoluted? Possibly a bit of tightening up here and there wouldn’t have been a bad thing. It doesn’t take away from the fact this is a clever, imaginative novel which is part of what looks to be an exciting series for both noir and sci-fi fans.

BLURB

Strippers, Drugs, and Headless Corpses… All in a day’s work for Bubbles Marlowe, HoloCity’s only cyborg detective.

What do an anti-tech cult, a deadly new street drug, and the corrupt Chief of Police have in common? It’s a question Bubbles can’t afford to ask. Last time she got curious it cost her job, a limb, and almost her life.

She vows to stay out of police business. But with a newly minted cybernetic enhancement, a semi-legal P.I. license, and a knack for asking the wrong kind of questions… Vows are made to be broken, right?

When a seemingly straightforward contract takes a dark turn, heads literally roll. Unless she wants to take the fall for the murders Bubbles needs to cut town on the double. Too bad she’s flat broke.

And now, she’s being hunted.

In a world where dreams can be made real for the right kind of dough, nothing is as it seems. One thing is clear, though. The dream is becoming a nightmare.

As the body count stacks up, Bubbles realizes she’s made a terrible mistake.

Can she figure out who is behind the murders before she loses her head?

Warning: Don’t read this book if you hate fun, glitter, sassy robotic pigs, or hard-boiled badassery. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are rolling in their graves, but this is all their fault.

Get Punched! Buy it now!

Published by Lady J's Pawsome Readers

As well as reviewing books, I'm a writer of romantic suspense, MM fiction and LGBTQIA sci-fi. One of the original founders of WROTE Podcast, a medium for showcasing queer storytelling in all forms.

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