Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Prime Deceptions (Chilling Effect #2) by Valerie Valdes

Harper Voyager, September 2020

Eva Innocente doesn't want to talk to her sister again.

She doesn't want to call her mother anytime soon.

She and the rest of the crew of La Sirena Negra want paying jobs to pay their bills, and rescue crew member Sue's brother Josh from the Fridge. (It's not clear what the psychic cats sharing the ship want, but they like at least some of the crew members, and know where their purrs are most needed.) An evil organization that is forcing him to work on its nefarious high-tech projects involving banned technology. Sue has been making ransom payments, but no matter how much she pays, Josh doesn't get released.

They're working on what their next move will be when Eva's sister, Mari, an officer with the Forge, contacts her.
The Forge is an organization that is at least nominally on the side of law and justice, and which wants to destroy the Fridge, possibly as much as Eva. (There is backstory for this, told in full in the previous book, Chilling Effects, but provided in enough substance here to avoid confusion.)

The Forge wants to find Josh, too.

The Fridge doesn't have him anymore. He and another scientist escaped, and have vanished. If they were safe, Josh would have contacted Sue, right?

Eva hates doing any favors for her sister, but the Forge is willing to pay, very well indeed. They really need the money, and it's a chance to get paid for doing what they want to do anyway--find Sue's brother.

Unfortunately, this is going to mean asking her mother, the kickass auditor, for help, going places she really doesn't want to go, and confronting one of the worst acts she ever committed, in a career that, until relatively recently, wasn't overly concerned with right and wrong. She's changed, but is that going to be good enough?

Eva and her friends are going to find out.

This is a really enjoyable book, with good characters, some interesting aliens, action that moves along, and people who turn out to be both better and worse than they seem at first glance. And, of course, the psychic cats, including Mala, the opinionated calico (but I repeat myself.)

It's not perfect. There are places where I stopped, and wondered why an editor didn't suggest changing that. But I really enjoyed it, and look forward to more.


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

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