cover image Paradise-1


David Wellington. Orbit, $18.99 trade paper (688p) ISBN 978-0-316-49674-2

Wellington (The Last Astronaut) skillfully combines hard sci-fi worldbuilding with tense mystery for a superior space thriller that never flags despite its length. United Earth Government Lt. Alexandra Petrova is introduced in the human colony of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede as she closes in on Jason Schmidt, the worst serial killer in Ganymede’s 100 year history. Her efforts are unexpectedly stymied by her superiors, and in the wake of her investigation’s untimely end, she’s exiled to Paradise-1, a fledgling human outpost 100 light years away, ostensibly to conduct a security analysis, and ensure that it’s “happy and productive.” En route, she and her two companions—Sam Parker, the commander of their transport, and doctor Zhang Lei—come under attack by an empty ship from the mysteriously abandoned Paradise-1, leading to a frantic struggle both to survive the assault and to understand what’s happened to the colony. Wellington excels at vivid descriptions (“The only light came from what reflected off the crescent of Jupiter, a thin arc of brown and orange that hung forever motionless in the night sky”), which further enhance the clever plot. Readers will be on the edges of their seats. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Apr.)