cover image The Sapphire Sirens

The Sapphire Sirens

John Zakour, . . DAW, $7.99 (340pp) ISBN 978-0-7564-0581-6

In the seventh adventure (after 2008's The Flaxen Femme Fatale ) for Zachary Nixon Johnson, the last freelance PI on Earth, Zakour continues his playful pastiche of hard-boiled detective novels with a SF twist. This time, Zach is kidnapped and taken to Lantis, a secret island of alien Amazonian women, to find out who killed their queen. Aided by HARV, an AI wired to his brain, Zach must wrangle superpowered buxom babes who instinctively distrust men and believe them inferior. Zach finds and confronts the murderer, but then HARV's right to exist is challenged and put on trial. It's no surprise that the pulp-style plot and characters have plenty of atmosphere and little substance, but while there are clichés aplenty, Zakour's examination of whether humanity is the sole province of humans adds depth to the lightweight story. (Dec.)