“Common Source” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
This book is a police procedural in a Sci-Fi near-future setting, where androids are just starting to be introduced to the general public. Sort of a down-to-earth remake of Asimov’s “I, Robot” Series. It’s a good plotline, with plenty of tension and just enough tech talk to keep us in the picture.
However, the story keeps getting interrupted by intrusive writing elements. The worst is an annoying habit of introducing each character, even the incidental ones, with a formulaic non-sentence of physical and personality description:
“Basketball-player tall, thin, with a thinning gray mop atop his head, DeMarco with well-toned arms and shoulders that made his suit jacket fit awkwardly, almost like it was a size too large.”
There are other specific blocks of extraneous material , all of them too lengthy, getting in the way of the action: “description of setting,” “witty repartee between buddies,” “interdepartmental wrangling,” etcetera. The worst example is when the investigation (and the whole storyline) is side-tracked by the introduction of a task force, with descriptions of everyone and endless nattering, infighting, and useless political wrangling.
One saving grace is the realistic and humorous relationship Simon has with his teenage daughter, culminating in the great and original final scene of the book. The personal connection does a great deal to allow the reader to connect with the character of the android, making him more human. This resonates with the theme of the book, and brings the reader into the story as well.
A comment I find myself making too often; this is a great book in search of an editor.
This book was first reviewed on Reedsy Discovery.(4 / 5)