“She said her name was Ivy Velasquez, and Dex wasn't sure whether that was her real name or a name she invented for his benefit. It didn't really matter; the funds she transferred to the organization's escrow account were real enough.”
Self Made by M. Darusha Wehm is worth reading. The opening was a bit flat, but the shaky prose doesn’t last and the book picks up steam quickly, building an intriguing world of online interaction, avatars and virtual murder. The plotline revolves around the “murder” of Reuben Cobalt, a virtual avatar. Andersson Dexter is hired to investigate the crime, leading him into the online world of avatar programming and “multis” that turns into a complex mystery to unravel.
The crime and mystery plotline is nicely written and the conclusion satisfying, with the allusion of noir and murder providing a flavourful background, but the true value in the novel is in the character interaction and the topics it reveals. Like all good science fiction, the book has subtle layers, and touches on a variety of issues such as civil rights, reality vs. virtual, gender identity and human interaction. The author has skilfully explored the depth of the characters; the plot revolves around the detective, Dexter and it is his complex personality that keeps the reader engrossed. The world the author created is filtered through his eyes, and it is fascinating.
“The last thing he needed was Shiraishi running around giving all the multis on the nets nightmares. Even if there were a serial multi killer out there, which Dex had no reason to believe, all a full scale panic would do is tip that person off to who the multis were. It was a dumb, rookie move, but Dex understood. They were his people. He was one of them, they were his community and he wanted to protect them. Dex understood, but he didn't share those feelings. After all, he had no one to protect.”
Besides the slightly weak beginning, there are a few distracting typos (although the book I read was an advance copy, so some of those problems may have been corrected), but nothing major and certainly nothing to detract from the reading experience. Self Made is an excellent book, especially for fans of cyber-tech sci-fi.
Self Made is available in e-book form at Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/7552
It’s also available through CreateSpace and Amazon.com in a print version
You can also find this review on my Examiner Page
Note: I received a free e-copy of this book for review.