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Review – Galactic Vice by Jake Bible

What is Galactic Vice?

It all starts with an interstellar cargo barge full of corpses…

The criminal scum of the galaxy have found a new playground and its name is Jafla Base. Now Galactic Vice Detective Etch Knowles has to infiltrate that playground before the criminal syndicates end up in all-out war.

Corruption on every level of government, brutal violence around every corner, alien races that consider humans the lowest of low, and a laser blaster always pointed at his back, Knowles needs Galactic Vice Lieutenant Angie McDade and Galactic Vice Detective Kalaka to back him up. Their job is to keep Knowles from getting his head blown off or die trying.

But there are forces at work that want nothing more than for Jafla Base to burn. And some of those forces may be coming from within the Jafla Base Vice Squad itself!

Action, intrigue, corruption, lust, and greed fuel the never ending thrill ride that is Galactic Vice!

Review

GALACTIC VICE by Jake Bible is a standalone police procedural IN SPACE that isn’t quite cyberpunk, isn’t quite science fiction noir, and isn’t quite space opera but blends elements of all three. If I were to try and describe it, I’d say it’s a gritty crime drama that just so happens to star a bunch of aliens straight out of the Star Wars cantina. This can sometimes distract you from just how dark and edgy the material is because there’s a level of separation when a hooker being forced to work in a shady casino is a fourteen tentacled alien.

The premise of our story is that a space freighter carrying a bunch of trafficking victims is blown up by its crime lord owner in order to prevent evidence from falling into the hands of Galactic Vice. Unfortunately, for said crime lord, police are killed in the process. This creates enough backlash to warrant a case being opened on him that involves undercover work, wire taps, and the usual sting operation business. Except the person they’re putting undercover is a half-cat person. Because, yes, that’s how this book rolls.

Without getting into spoilers, Jake Bible isn’t afraid to zig when most other authors zag. Our heroes make quite a few mistakes throughout the books and some of these have dire consequences. While not quite, “Ned Stark at the end of A Game of Thrones” levels of shocking twists, there’s some that I definitely didn’t see coming. Deals are made that probably shouldn’t be made and the book surprisingly shows dysfunctional and systemic oppression that prevents meaningful change or even momentary victories.

If I may make the obvious comparison, this is actually like the real Miami Vice versus the one that has stuck out in the cultural moment. If you actually watched the show, you’d note it was a lot darker than many people remember with the series pilot ending with the villain getting away with murdering Tubb’s brother and Crockett’s partner. Why? Because he was that rich and just bought himself a judge despite all of our heroes’ efforts. Galactic Vice is like that but it has a Jabba the Hutt analog in place of a Columbian drug lord.

I really liked the setting of Jafla, which is a planet that is depicted with all of the glitter of Las Vegas but the sleaze of Seventies New York City. It’s just, again, in space. Humans don’t dominate this vision of the future and are just one minor part of a much larger galactic community. I liked the depiction of what happened to Earth with humans having polluted it to the point of becoming an uninhabitable wasteland.

This book was released in 2017 and there’s no sign of a sequel in sight so it’s a book that can safely be said to be a one and done deal. The story left room open for further adventures from the (surviving) protagonists but I felt it wasn’t left hanging either. Crime and corruption in the galaxy are just too big for any individuals to have a serious effect on. You just have the accept the little victories and major defeats as is.

Available here

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