Thin Ice is a science fiction detective novel by Phill Jones.
Thadeus Rede is a detective who is trying to hunt a vicious serial killer on the streets of Seattle in the year 2037. The killer appears to be targeting the powerful political New Natural Law Party (NNLP) who are strong opponents of genetic modification and seek a complete ban.
Thadeus is also a survivor of the Burn Off, a slimming agent that went horribly wrong back in the early part of the 21st Century and caused peoples metabolism to rage fatally out of control. He has to take regular doses of a serum in order to keep his body in check and is treated by many as something less than human, at the least "different".
The world of 2037 is one of genetic engineering for the masses with shops that will provide anyone with the DNA and characteristics of various animals, these can even be combined with traits from more than 1 animal. These modified individuals are known collectively as sidjimi and in most cases are no longer strictly human. Society is split with those accepting and encouraging this forced, personalised evolution of mankind, while others (like the NNLP) do all they can to ban this form of genetic "enchancement".
Drawn from a rich and detailed future Seattle, Thin Ice is a detective novel at heart, and a very accomplished one at that. The plot flows fast with unexpected twists and enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. This novel will keep you hooked until the very last page, the writing is intelligent and easy to read, the characterisation is spot on and the back story both rich and vividly realised. There are also some very original ideas floating around the story and plenty of warnings about messing with Nano-tech and genetic modification. Their is also a really gritty feel to this future city, not quite dystopian but something of a balance between dystopia and modern life.
The only problem I have with this book is it's just too short, at only 134 pages long it's only a bit longer than some short stories however this isn't really a negative, not a single sentence is wasted, there are no filler bits, every page and every word advances the story and provides background detail. Highly recommended.
Written on Saturday 18th September 2010 by Antony Jones.
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