Mai Tais for the Lost

Mia V Moss. Underland, $13.99 trade paper (106p) ISBN 978-1-63023-065-4

A murder in an elite underwater city exposes a dirty secret in Moss’s entertaining near-future noir debut and series launch. Private detective Marrow Nightingale is an anomaly in the Electric Blue Moon dome, one of a series of exclusive underwater habitats in the Pacific Ocean. Adopted by a high society family after her working-class parents’ deaths, Marrow’s acceptance among Electric Blue’s wealthy denizens has always been tenuous, hinging on the support of her popular adoptive brother, Rocket. When Rocket turns up dead, his fashion model fiancé, Disco, insists the grieving Marrow take the case and bring his murderer to justice. Moss captures the shallow decadence of life in this underwater city through neon lights and the fizzy hallucinations brought on by designer drugs as Marrow navigates Rocket’s social circle and follows clues that lead her to a robotic mermaid with a dark past. But when another murder occurs, Marrow jumps to the top of Electric Blue security’s list of suspects and faces the threat of deportation to the surface. Tantalizing hints of larger worldbuilding and dangling plot threads that imply a greater mystery may frustrate some readers, but will leave others hungry for more. This is a promising first outing from Moss. (July)
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