You catch me in a good mood. It's the final day of 2020, and I've just had enough time to myself to read a pleasantly competent cap about an unusual pair of private dicks.
It's not perfect. Specifically, the murder victim was described as "cut to little pieces" yet the explanation later was that the modified wheelchair "worked as a pair of giant pliers, allowing a smaller-sized person to tear Mr. Soledad apart" - which I totally don't buy. And when they gather the suspects together, it's not clear who's in the room, which considerably lessens the impact of the scene. Also, who would confuse fingers on the back of the head for the cold steel of a gun?
And there were a few minor formatting errors, like fullstops at the start of paragraphs, wheel chair being two words, and at least once where McGruber turns into McGruder.
But the thing is, I really liked the characters. And that counts for a lot. The story was competent, the writing ok, but the characters were really fun, particularly the two protagonists.
The bull may be in a different mood altogether, he usually is, but I'm gonna give this a green light.
The Bull is going to skip the part of his review where he complains about his miserable life and the jerks he has to stomach on a daily basis (all four stomachs mind you) on a daily basis and just fucking get to brass tacks.
Generally speaking, the Bulldog is very critical of robot stories, mostly because he has his own sensitivities about how AI would behave. The Bullmeister knows that nobody’s going to get it right. So he nitpicks.
That being said, he decided to suspend disbelief on this one and let it ride.
As far as a plot goes, robot detective has been done – a lot. Luckily for us, the VC didn’t play up the fish out of water thing and focused strictly on the strengths of Max. While Max is an engaging enough character, Walker, the narrator of this cap is the true main character. We see all the action through his eye and interpret Max as his friend and confidant.
One thing that bothers me is that the who-done-it aspect of the story was somewhat forced, but true enough to stick within the genre. I agree with the aquatic one that the plot and grammar could have been tightened up a bit.
Another point that bugged me was that Max could have existed without being a robot. He could have been a savant, a trained master, almost anyone with heightened abilities and senses. But the VC went with robot. It’s okay, but a pet peeve of mine is when speculative fiction could work without the science fiction element. For example “Tales from the Loop” where half of the plotlines could have been replaced with mundane objects and the story would have worked okay despite it. But I digress.
Despite the flaws of the cap, the friendship between the two protagonists carries the it. And since this year is coming to an end, and the fact that I lied before – I do have a soft spot for robots, I vote yes. Fuck me.