One Way

S.J. Morden. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-52218-2
Morden (author of the Petrovitch Trilogy and others as Simon Morden) sets this sharp thriller in a crisply imagined near future. Former architect Frank Kittridge is serving a life sentence for shooting a drug dealer. He’s made an offer he can’t refuse: travel to Mars with seven other convicts who have a number of necessary skills, and set up the Mars Base One habitat for NASA scientists. After months of grueling training and almost a year of cryosleep, they arrive on Mars and soon find out that their supplies are scattered miles away. Nevertheless, the group must get the job done, all under the eye of devious overseer Lance Brack. The death of their transport specialist shortly after arrival kicks off a series of deaths due to mystifying accidents, and emails and internal memos indicate that their employer doesn’t have their best interests at heart. Frank, a capable but refreshingly ordinary protagonist, resolves to root out the culprits and stop the killings. Morden makes the science accessible as he steadily ratchets up the tension and paranoia, fully utilizing the starkly beautiful but utterly deadly setting. A bloody finale paves the way for further installments. Agent: Antony Harwood, Antony Harwood Ltd. (U.K.). (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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