cover image Star Road

Star Road

Matthew Costello and Rick Hautala. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-01322-4

Political intrigue diminishes the benefits of advanced alien technology as Costello and the late Hautala (1949–2013) infuse a Wild West atmosphere into space travel. Squabbles over the right to travel the Star Road, which reaches across the galaxy and perhaps beyond, pit the rebelling Runners against the dominant World Council in armed combat. As rebel leader Ivan Delgato’s imprisonment fails to end the violence, SRV-66 takes flight to distant outpost Omega Nine with several secretive passengers, including World Council agent Bill Nahara, attention-seeking walking camera Sinjira Renku, soulful Seeker Ruth Corso, and hitchhiker “Gage Mitchell” (who is actually Delgato in disguise). Clashes of opinion and ethical debates are augmented by frequent hints of looming crisis. Costello (Missing Monday) and Hautala (Nightstone), both experienced horror authors, emphasize this future’s brutal nature with the introduction of Road Bugs, which literally consume vehicles traveling the Star Road. The emphasis on the unexplored evokes the vision of classic science fiction, neatly packaging this espionage novel in a speculative wrapper. (Jan.)