“Welcome to the moon! ”
Neal Gordon screwed up his assignment on Mars and they reassigned him to Antarctica. Now he’s being reassigned some place even worse: Luna City. A crime ridden hellhole with a super-rich ruling class, he almost immediately finds himself targeted by bounty hunters and cyborg terrorists. Thankfully, Neal has an unusual set of partners in robot dog, Barksley, and the snarky but badass Lucy Westernra. Yes, make all the vampire jokes you want. It’s tough being a corporate cop on humanity’s foremost colony and before this adventure is over, he’s going to have to deal with deranged influencers, mysterious female secret agents, and a 1970s themed flying car called the Purple Rain. Can he survive to get reassigned? Who knows.
MOON COPS ON THE MOON is set in the Futurepunk setting of Agent G, the Cyber Dragons Trilogy, and Space Academy novels but functions as a standalone series. It is a humorous action-filled romp that fans of The Expanse, Robocop, Demolition Man, and Blade Runner will enjoy.
As a long time fan of CT Phipps’s writing, I’m always interested to see what he has coming out next. In this case, it turned out to be a fun romp on the moon colony some years after first contact had brought Earth into the galactic community. Colonies now exist on Mars as well as the Moon, with the Moon seen as a ghetto backwater that no one wants to get stuck on. Let’s put it this way, if you owned Hell and the Moon, you’d rent out the Moon and go live in Hell. People from the Moon colony would vacation in Mos Eisley to take a break from the stress. It truly is a hive of scum and villainy, but in the best way possible. The setting is as much a character as any of the various people in the story.
The characters are the usual cast of quirky, interesting but surprisingly deep characters. Leading the way is Neal Gordon, former corporate marine turned corporate police officer, who has just been transferred from Mars to the Moon after a scandal which he barely survived. He is a bit corrupt, but that’s actually expected for corporate cops, and he still has morals and tries to do the right thing. He is a talented detective, ready to sling a one liner or a fist as the situation calls for it, and is a great callback to great tv detectives of the 70’s but with the story’s own twists due to the sci-fi setting. He goes through a great character arc, with some jaw dropping revelation about him at the end.
The supporting cast is excellent as well, especially his partner Charles Barksley, an intelligent biological android corgi, who is hilarious and dedicated, with some surprises of his own, with an absolutely hilarious back story. Neal’s other partner, Lucy Westernra, is a great foil for him. She is a moon native, but comes from a money background, which she turned her back on to join the police. She is a dedicated officer, and like Neal, she’s not afraid to get a little dirty getting the job done. This pays off as the story progresses, as so many of the elements of the Moon’s populace need a good smack. The rest of the cast, including Lucy’s sister and an AI that runs the Moon’s systems all add to the flavor of the story, and you can’t wait to see what they get up to next.
The villains are interesting. They run the gamut from local cyberpunk gang members to granny assassins to a mysterious presence that reveals itself throughout the story. This is to say nothing of the corrupt politicians and police of various stripes, all of whom try and make life for Neal and his friends more difficult, if not downright deadly. It’s the usual excellent group of villains I’ve come to expect from this author.
I found this to be an entertaining addition to the shared universe the author has been creating for a decade. It fills in some of the questions left over from some of his other series, while going on its own journey. It’s not necessary to read the other books he’s written, although I recommend them all. This book should appeal to sci-fi fans who like charmingly quirky characters and action on every page. This is a read you won’t regret checking out.