cover image The Razor

The Razor

J. Barton Mitchell. Tor, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8792-9

Mitchell (Midnight City) packs this feisty page-turner with a great cast and plenty of twists. Marcus Flynn, an engineer at tech company Maas-Dorian, is framed for murder and sentenced to life on the Razor, a maximum-security prison planet rich in the powerful fuel source xytrilium. Flynn barely survives his first days of incarceration, and then the Razor becomes catastrophically unstable. Prison personnel abandon the dying planet, leaving all the convicts behind. But Flynn is offered a way out: if he can retrieve highly restricted xytrilium data from a quarantined research lab, he’ll be rescued. As he fights his way to the lab, Flynn accumulates a band of inmate misfits, including Key, a pugnacious prison-smart Latina, and Zane, a hulking bioaugmented killer with unfinished business on the imploding planet. To top it all off, there’s a vicious insectoid alien on the prowl. The further Flynn ventures across the Razor’s inhospitable terrain, the more everything—the impending apocalypse, the creatures, the superpowered prisoners, and even Maas-Dorian—appears to be connected. A few too many characters and subplots make the story feel crowded, but sequels may give them somewhere to go. Fans of space adventure will relish this entertaining escapade. (Nov.)