cover image Chilling Effect

Chilling Effect

Valerie Valdes. Harper Voyager, $15.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-287723-9

Valdes’s space opera misadventure of deceit and family ties is full of heart but slow to develop. Capt. Eva Innocente, a reformed rogue, has gotten herself on the right track, cruising the galaxy with the crew of the La Sirena Negra and taking up small legal jobs even though that means smaller profit. But after receiving a message that her sister, Mari, has been kidnapped by an intergalactic syndicate called the Fridge, Eva has to wager her ship, her crew, and her better life to get Mari back. Soon she’s lying to her crew, fending off an angry suitor, and wrangling a cargo hold full of psychic cats. The intrigue, deception, and action somehow never quite rev up, but spirited characters and absurd humor hold this novel together as the plot trudges forward. Readers who get through the smaller early mishaps and into the meat of the book will find it satisfying. Agent: Quressa Robinson, Nelson Literary. (Sept.)