Monday, February 12, 2018

Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe, by Richard Dee

4Star SciFi, ISBN 9780995458161, June 2017

Andorra Pett and her friend Cy have fled Earth for a mining colony in orbit around Saturn after they both had bad breakups with their boyfriends. Andi, who ran a dress shop on Earth, has bought a bar, the Lucky Strike, which she plans to rename The Oort Cloud Cafe.

Unfortunately, on their first day, they find the body of Mike, the previous owner, who is supposed to have left the station suddenly after alcohol was banned, in one of the bar's two freezers.

It quickly becomes clear to them that local politics are sufficiently complicated that they'd be the most convenient suspects, even if it makes no sense. They can't report the body until they solve the crime.

I started this book expecting to find it silly and light, with the mystery just a convenience providing some structure. It's by no means a heavy, dark book, but there's some real substance to both the story and the characters.

Nearly everyone turns out to be more complicated and interesting than they might initially seem, and even the "bad guys," even the murderer, turn out to have real reasons that make sense from their perspective. Sometimes those reasons even include the greater good of the station, an inherently fragile environment that needs to be protected.

Overall, a pleasant and enjoyable surprise.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.