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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Retrieval Artist (A Retrieval Artist short novel) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Analog, June 2000

Miles Flint, hard-boiled detective on the Moon, likes the seedy look of his part of a moon colony.  He seeks The Disappeared, those who may not want to be found, only if their disappearance is no longer necessary.  The Disappeared often do so in order to avoid the extreme penalties of the alien race, The Disty.

Anetka Sobol, cloned daughter of the man who ran the Third Dynasty, wants to find her original in order to run her dying father’s business.  Since clones cannot inherit family money, she claims to only want to ensure her place in the business.  Her motives, though, are shrouded in layers of deceit.

For reasons I cannot finger, Rusch’s detective reminds me of Sue Grafton’s detective Kinsey Millhone.  Flint is one reason I reread the story.  Flint is so complex to be vindictively cruel (most readers will side with Flint’s decision).  I hoped further novels explored this psychological complexity of motive, but according to this reviewer,apparently not.  (Aside: The reviewer’s comment--“in the end, we don’t know her motivations or feelings.”--is only true in that we do not hear it from her mouth, but we suspect we can trust Flint’s assessment because her responses appear to back up his conclusions.)

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