The Spare Man

Tor. Oct. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781250829177. pap. $19.99. SF
In the latest from Kowal (author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award winner The Calculating Stars), Tesla Crane and her brand-new spouse are on their honeymoon cruise. It’s a rare opportunity for the famous heiress to spend a few days wrapped in luxury and anonymity while canoodling with her almost-as-famous husband. It’s all fun and sexy games until they stumble over a dead body and the witless ship’s security tries to pin the blame on Tesla’s spouse. That’s when the gloves come off, and the real Tesla stands up and investigates a sudden murder spree on this intergalactic cruise liner on its way between Luna and Mars. Tesla is a woman who keeps standing up in spite of devastating chronic pain and PTSD—always with a dash of gin, a load of snark, and a dogged determination to use her fame and fortune to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake.
VERDICT Kowal’s comedy-of-manners SF mystery is a rollicking case of knowing when to throw decorum out the window in order to get results. Highly recommended for fans of the author’s Regency fantasy series “The Glamourist Histories,” as well as anyone who loves a good mystery in an out-of-this-world setting.
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