A Ghost for a Clue (Immortology, Book 1)
The story begins with the death of Bram Morrison’s friend, Franco, in a tragic accident. Bram has little time to dwell on his loss, however; his work must go on, and soon he isn’t just designing robots to assist astronauts on deep space missions but also has the chance to go on one himself. Even as the plot moves along at rocket-like speeds, the narrative never entirely loses the theme of death and loss. If anything, it’s the space travel that gets lost. As Bram considers a one-way trip to a distant constellation, he realizes he wouldn’t want to leave Earth without Torula Jackson, his childhood friend and long-time crush. As he tries to get up the nerve to ask her to accompany him, however, he finds himself embroiled in a mystery: Torula thinks she has found a ghost.
That description is only a taste of what the first book in the Immortology series has to offer. Though it is comparatively short, it packs a lot in, meaning a proper synopsis would be at least a thousand words. For those who love their science fiction jam-packed with intellectual action and more than a little taste of the weird, this is a very promising start. There may not be any high-speed chases or laser guns firing, but in my opinion this book has something better: intelligent people making intuitive leaps, and science that feels real without getting too bogged down in being hard sci-fi. There are a few moments where the technobabble feels a bit much, but for the most part, I loved how in-depth the explanations could be. It helps that all the protagonists are scientists. You can’t avoid in-depth explanations there.
The book isn’t just fascinating experiments and madcap theories that might or might be true. Draeco makes sure to flesh out the characters and the world. These characters have foibles and failings, but more than that, they have quirks that feel organic rather than tacked on for flavor. There are also little hints and clues sprinkled throughout for readers to catch onto, half-disguised as slips of the tongue. I wouldn’t go so far as to call A Ghost for a Clue a mystery, but there are plenty of mysteries in it to solve. As the first in a series, not everything is wrapped up by the end, but enough is that I didn’t feel unsatisfied. I only felt curious about what would come next.
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