Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: You've Got Murder by Donna Andrews (Turing Hopper Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Unique mystery series handled well.
Cons: A little slow at times, but strong second half.
The Bottom Line:
Sci fi, mystery
Well executed combo
Fans of both will love

Winning Science Fiction Mystery Combination

You've Got Murder the first book in Donna Andrews' second series. Blending science fiction and mystery, it stars fully sentient Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP for short) Turing Hopper and her human friends Maude Graham and Tim Pincoski.

When Zack doesn't show up at work for several days in a row, Turing is concerned. Since Zack is Turing's creator, she takes their interactions very seriously. Since his habit is to log into his computer no matter if he takes a day off or not, she knows something is up. She does what she can to find him, but her resources are limited to on-line sources. Frustrated by the inability to go investigate in person, she asks Maude and Tim to help out. What the three of them uncover begins to give Turing a picture that causes her to worry more. Zack seems to have stumbled on something huge. But was he killed or is he hiding out? And can Turing protect her human friends as well as the other, not quite sentient AIP's in the database Turing calls home.

I've enjoyed Ms. Andrews' Meg Langslow series, but was a bit skeptical when it came to this book. An AIP as the main character? This just sounded too far-fetched for me. Yet she pulled it off with no trouble what so ever. All three of the main characters come off as fully developed. Most interesting naturally was Turing, who reminded me of similar characters in the various Star Trek series. She has true strengths and weaknesses and grows the most as a character because of the story. The plot is a little slow getting off the ground, but the time is used to establish Turing and her environment and is needed to understand what happens. Once the story takes off, it moves at lightning speed. Turing, Maude, and Tim share the point of view, making the best dramatic use of the story. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but only a little.

You've Got Murder won an Agatha Award for best mystery novel and is the book that turned me into a full-blown Donna Andrews fan. There's nothing else quite like it out there, and it will please fans of both mystery and science fiction.

And you must read the Turing Hopper Mysteries in order.

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