Interlibrary Loan

Tor. Jun. 2020. 308p. ISBN 9781250242365. $25.99. sf
E.A. Smithe is a reclone, imbued with the personality and memories of a dead mystery writer. Available to borrow from libraries, Smithe is sent off to the library branch of Polly’s Cove, along with reclones Millie Baumgartner, a renowned cookbook author, and Rose Romain, a romance novelist. When the three arrive at Polly’s Cove Public Library, Smithe is borrowed by a young girl who hopes to bring her mother back into reality, a dead father who may have been dabbling in strange dealings with Millie and Rose, and another E.A. Smithe, who turns up dead. Nothing a mystery writer cannot solve—maybe. A winding tale, essentially Smithe’s train of thought as he writes the adventure in retrospect, with an abrupt ending that will have readers going back looking for details they missed the first time around.
VERDICT Wolfe died in 2019 at age 87; this posthumous sequel to A Borrowed Man blends a hard-boiled mystery style with a sf future and is mostly successful. While this can be read as a stand-alone, familiarity with the main character’s background story may bring more clarity for readers.

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