Following a failed government-funded program that involved rolling out a fleet of robots to do dangerous jobs, Raymond Electronica is the last metal man standing. Fronting as a private detective, Raymond keeps himself busy working as a hitman. Up to now, all of his jobs have come through his companion computer Ada, a large boxy machine that takes up residence in his office. However, when a young woman approaches Ray with a request to track down and take out a Hollywood actor, his interest is piqued when she dumps several solid gold bars on his desk. Can Ray track down and eliminate his new target?
I received a free copy from the publisher via Net Galley for review.
Adam Christopher’s Made to Kill is a truly original bit of writing – a robot detective sleuthing in the 1960s? Sign me up! And if the amazing cover doesn’t hook you, the fact that it’s described as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe meets Lawrence Block’s hit-man for hire Keller should.
Despite the fact that Made to Kill features a giant robot working a case, Christopher’s story doesn’t allow itself to get bogged down in the gimmick of the “robot detective”. At its core, it’s a smart and funny thriller that knows when it should take itself seriously and when to play it up for laughs. Whether Raymond is synthesizing laughter that he says sounds like an old Buick backfiring or declaring that he has the world’s best poker face as he’s literally without features, the absurdity of the plot kept me reading along with few breaks.
Raymond has a built-in memory regarding basic functions and knowledge but he relies on magnetic tape to store information learned within a twenty-four hour period. Once the day ends, the tape is removed and stored and he turns to his computer companion Ada to fill him in. It gives him a timeline for how long he can stay on a case per day; this way he isn’t working constantly without breaks, in a way humanizing him. There’s also the fact that he’s designed to look somewhat like a man but Christopher reminds the reader that he weighs about a ton and stands at least seven feet tall, so there’s only so much he can do to blend in.
As the story moves on, it switches from a simple missing person’s case to something altogether different; something that I did not see coming. I think that if you’re a big fan of the period in which Christopher is playing, you’ll like the twist and enjoy where things go.
Adam Christopher is proving to be an incredibly versatile writer. The man is all over the place with novels ranging from superhero stories to space-opera epics to straight up noir mysteries – he does it all, and he does it all well.
Release date: November 3rd, 2015
Read my interview with Adam from March 2013!