Flesh and Gold

Phyllis Gotlieb, Author Tor Books $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-86523-8
Murder and intimidation are the name of the game in this rather noir SF mystery novel from Gotlieb (Sunburst; Heart of Red Iron), the 71-year-old grande dame of Canadian SF writers. Skerow, a telepathic alien who looks like a baby allosaurus, is an honest if somewhat naive circuit-riding judge in the employment of the Galactic Federation. About to wind up her caseload on a grim, backwater planet, she doesn't think it odd when her superior, Judge Thordh, claiming a minor indisposition, asks her to sit in for him on what appears to be a routine gold smuggling case. The situation turns out to be anything but routine, however, when Thordh is first accused of serious malfeasance and then found murdered. Not long afterward, someone attempts to bribe Judge Skerow and, when that fails, to murder her as well. In an apparently unrelated incident, Skerow then uncovers evidence that a local brothel has enslaved an intelligent amphibious human being of unknown origin against her will, but the local officials she turns to seem unable or unwilling to intervene. Meanwhile, in the underworlds of several planets, GalFed agents are risking their lives to uncover a dark web of perversion, intimidation and greed. Behind everything evil lurks the presence of Zamos, a near-ancient interstellar corporation with interests in every form of legalized vice, from prostitution and gambling to drugs, blood sports and, oddly enough, genetic research. In this exciting and colorful tale, Gotlieb, a distinguished poet and arguably one of Canada's two or three most important SF writers, makes a lively and entertaining return to the field after an absence of nearly a decade. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2246-5
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