Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fast paced mystery in unique setting
Cons: Some character actions not fully explained at the end, but a minor detail
The Bottom Line:
Prize winner murdered
And Neptune has a secret
Fast paced and fun book
Sylvia’s Back on the Space Case
Diane Vallere thwarted my attempt to be up to date on at least one of her current series by publishing not one but two new books in the Sylvia Stryker Space Case Mysteries in the last couple of months. But that's not really an issue when the books are as good as I'm Your Venus is.
In case you haven't started this series yet, it is a science fiction set mystery series. Sylvia herself is a half human, half alien main character, and the cast of characters feature more aliens than humans. Now, if this is starting to scare you off, don't worry in the slightest. The books are still more mystery than science fiction. We learn a little about some of these alien races, but the focus is on the mystery and what is means for Sylvia.
It's been three months since we last saw Sylvia, and she has gotten a new assignment on Moon Unit 6. She is once again in charge of the uniform department, but this time it is legitimate. After proving herself in the last book, she is now a full member of the crew. Neptune is the head of security on this new ship as well. The ship is heading to Venus, and everyone is looking forward to a pleasurable trip.
Things fall apart quickly, however, when Sylvia finds a dead body outside the uniform department. The victim has clearly been murdered, but worse yet, the victim just won a contest to be on the ship. Potential PR disasters are flying through Sylvia's mind when Neptune drops a bombshell on her, asking for her help to figure out what is happening. Can Sylvia do that while keeping what is happening quiet?
Just like this isn't your typical location for a mystery, this isn't a typical mystery plot - at least not the kind that I tend to read with a victim and a limited number of suspects. Yes, we do spend some time wondering who killed the victim and why, but we spend quite a bit of time dealing with the bombshell that Neptune drops and some of the fallout from that. Not to worry, this kept me perfectly engaged, and I breezed through the book in just a couple of days. I was always up for just one more chapter as I was reading.
When things came together at the end, I did feel like some of what the characters did along the way didn’t quite make sense. It bothers me some, but on the whole, I enjoyed the book very much.
The cast of characters are a lot of fun. We really only get to know three of them, Sylvia, Neptune, and Pika, all of whom were in the first book in the series. It's just the nature of the book since these are the three we spend the most time with. The rest of the cast are strong enough for the parts they play in the book, so this isn’t a complaint, just an observation.
And the setting is a lot of fun. There are the occasional nods to pop culture science fiction that brought an extra smile to my face, although I'm sure there are some I missed. While the book may be lower tech than a pure science fiction book would be, there are some cool things here that I wouldn't mind having in real life. Heck, the ship itself sounds fantastic. Then again, it is essentially a cruise ship in space, and who doesn’t love the idea of a good cruise.
Having finished I'm Your Venus, I'm not that sorry that book three is already available. There are some threads left here I can't wait to see explored. It's just a matter of finding the time to read that book.