Blood Red Sphere

Lawrence Barker, Author . Swimming Kangaroo $14.99 (253p) ISBN 978-1-934041-71-0

Barker (Renfield ) shifts from horror to SF with this energetic and engrossing thrill ride. Recovering addict Helios makes his meager living selling ancient artifacts scavenged from the surface of Mars. Several disreputable criminals barge into his office one day, demanding he sell them the titular sphere, which he knows nothing about. Helios quickly finds himself on the run from both his clients and the law when his partner, Barabbas, is found knifed in the throat. Barker's well-crafted world absorbs and fascinates, populated by intriguing new races and the ominous Combine, a massive central processor that links together and eventually overshadows human minds. The plot is sometimes predictable, and overeager info-dumping from minor characters ties loose ends together a bit too aggressively, but the deft pacing and Helios's genuinely good nature are compelling to the end. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/25/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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