cover image The Body Scout

The Body Scout

Lincoln Michel. Orbit, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-62872-3

Michel’s brisk, entertaining debut weaves familiar cyberpunk tropes through a gritty, near-future world of corporate greed and pro baseball. As young boys growing up in the bleak underground warrens of a New York City partly submerged due to climate change, Kobo and his best friend, JJ Zunz, dreamed of playing ball in the big leagues. Kobo washed out of the now-defunct Cyber League and became a talent scout for the pros, though the sport is now controlled by Big Pharma, whose cutting-edge drug blends fuel the top players. Zunz, on the other hand, had the skills and luck to become a star hitter for the Monsanto Mets—until he drops dead on the field during a playoff game. Was it poison or a careless overdose? Kobo’s determined to find the truth, and his investigation plunges him deep into a web of corporate politics, intrigue, and cutthroat shenanigans. The plot moves fast and features well-wrought if expected worldbuilding details, including floating billboards, advanced drug and gene therapies, cybernetic rebuilds, obnoxious and über-wealthy CEOs, and ecological collapse. Readers won’t need to be baseball fans to enjoy this gripping ride. [em](Sept.) [/em]