cover image SIMS: Book Two: The Portero Method

SIMS: Book Two: The Portero Method

F. Paul Wilson, . . Cemetery Dance, $35 (115pp) ISBN 978-1-58767-023-7

The story of a lawyer, Patrick Sullivan, pulled into a fight for a group of enslaved, bioengineered "sims" against their creators continues with mixed results. Here is a perfect second chapter that deepens the resolve of the good guys, shows off the dirty side of the bad guys and for a good twist also shows the villains' hatred of that aspect of their character. Novellas typically don't contain the depth of novels, but this one does. On its own, however, this second installment is less compelling than the first, regardless of the strength of the writing, because it functions mainly to support the foundation of the tale rather than further it. Having previously set up the characters and story line, the author wastes no words on recap. This makes it difficult for the new reader to become absorbed in the attempts on Patrick's life and his qualms about continuing with his court case after the company that created the sims strong-arms his human clients into abandoning him. For all the well-drawn action and hints at the sinister nature of the sims' origin, no new mysteries are discovered or existing ones solved. Wilson leaves a lot of plot threads hanging, with no hint as to what will happen in the third novella. This series will likely be worth the wait in the end, but readers will want to have copies of the previous volume at hand to remind them of why they were first drawn to the story. (Nov. 25)