DAW. Apr. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9780756415105. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780756415112. SF
DEBUT Fergus Ferguson likes his job finding things that have gone missing in space. Called a glorified repo man, he's located and returned some unusual and dangerous cargo in his day, but this assignment is particularly tricky. He must find a stolen, armed spaceship, and wrest it away from a local gangster on the brink of warfare with a well-known arms dealer. Those caught in the middle include the families of miners and merchants, and an all-female community of lichen farmers. Cracking esoteric codes, improvising transportation and weapons, and being involved in knife fights in zero gravity is all part of a day's work. Palmer, a Hugo Award winner for her short fiction, has created a pulp-style space opera debut complete with aliens, stinging space roaches, and lethal spores that ramp up the dread and increase the hurdles for the heroes.
VERDICT Salted with a bit of humor here and there, a clear cadence, and conventional ending, this will please anyone who embraces outer-space yarns.
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