“The Suspect Genome”

I’m doing my Peter F. Hamilton series in the order I read his work.

This story is actually a part of his Greg Mandel series — which I’ll look at it future postings.

Raw Feed (2001): “The Suspect Genome“, Peter F. Hamilton, 2000.

I was curious as to what this story would be like since it featured Greg Mendel, the hero of a series of books Hamilton wrote before his very good Night’s Dawn trilogy.

Mendel is a psychic detective, and I am not very fond of sf stories with psychic powers, but Hamilton handled his abilities well.

Mendel comes across not as someone with strange visions but very reliable intuition, and many a detective story features heroes with reliable intuition.

Hamilton mixes the psychic powers in well with a future police procedural story and a somewhat interesting setting of a post-Greenhouse England, specifically the backwater of Rutland which is where Hamilton is from.

The odd part of the story is the structure.

The story has a rather dishonest real estate developer finding that his current business dealing has lead to a strongly supported accusation of murder against him. Then the story backtracks to the murder of a C-list actor and the search for the killer. The story ends with a twist, but not an unknown twist in the detective genre (even from my sparse readings in it):  Mendel realizes that the actor died accidentally but frames the real estate developer because the developer did contract the killing of Mendel’s father-in-law.  Mendel’s relative stood in the way of a real estate deal.

In the seemingly post-communist or post-socialist England that Mendel inhabits, things have swung the other way and every expenditure by the police must be justified (people even carry “crime insurance” to provide money to investigate crimes they are the victims of), and tracking down a hit and run driver who killed an unpopular “kibbutznik”.

 

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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