by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Cover Artist: Eugenesergeev / Dreamstime
Review by Sam Lubell
WMG Publishing Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781561466214
Date: 08 February 2015
Vigilantes is the sixth book of the Anniversary Day Saga, a subseries within the Retrieval Artist series. The universe of The Retrieval Artist is complex, with many alien races with their own legal systems and governments cooperating in the Earth Alliance. The Retrieval Artist is Miles Flint who finds people who disappeared to hide from aliens whose system of justice may be quite alien. However, it has been several books since Flint actually functioned as a Retrieval Artist, explained in the books as Flint wanting to focus on raising his daughter and not put her at risk.
The focus of the Anniversary Day Saga is the effort by the people on the moon--including, but not limited to Flint, who does not even appear in some of the volumes--to find out who is behind the bombings that killed thousands in the domed cities of the Moon. And, as of the last book, the investigation has widened to encompass the thwarted effort by the Peyti clones to kill even more.
Vigilantes picks up where The Peyti Crisis left off (after a 40 years earlier scene). The lawyer Torkild Zhu, whose employer has been hired by the Peyti government to defend the Peyti clones, is murdered, apparently by the police. Detective Nyquist is forced to halt his questioning of one of the Peyti clones, exploiting a loophole in the restraining order filed by Zhu, to investigate Zhu's death. Meanwhile Miles Flint continues to investigate the money trail of the Peyti clones which he discovers leads to an important human Earth Alliance official.
Flint is somewhat distracted by his daughter's continuing mental problems, the result of witnessing the death of a classmate and his family in a previous book. Talia, who is secretly a clone of Flint's daughter, has to cope with growing anti-clone feelings among the moon's population, including her therapist. And Noelle DeRicci tries to convince one of the Earth Alliance investigators to follow the lead that goes back to the Alliance.
Compared to the other volumes in the Saga, Vigilantes is probably the best since Blowback, although still not as taut as the pre-Saga books. It is more cohesive than the recent volumes, without seeming to be stitched together patchwork style. This book has some more progress on the investigation into the bombings; gaining ground is necessary as there are only two books remaining in this subseries.
Still, the killing of Zhu adds complications to the investigations especially since it seems that Nyquist is the only detective on the moon who is both competent and untainted. The murder also renders moot a lot of Zhu's character development from the earlier books (perhaps the author wants the death to seem like more than a plot device). Unfortunately, the book does not show the reaction of Zhu's ex fiancÚ, who also has been a viewpoint character in previous books. Hopefully that will be covered in a later volume but seems to be a glaring omission here.
In her introduction to the book, Rusch admits that the novels in the Saga, unlike the earlier Retrieval Artist novels, do not stand alone. So she is publishing the last six books in the Saga in six months between January and June, 2015. No one should start reading the series with this book. Fans of mystery stories, especially those of private investigators, should read the original Retrieval Artist books before deciding if they want to venture into the long subseries of the Anniversary Day Saga. Considering that many of these books are shorter than average (Vigilantes is 237 pages), readers may want to consider the $6 ebooks instead of the $19 trade paperbacks.