Zero Sum Game
S.L. Huang
Cas Russell #1

Summary:

An item recovery specialist with an uncanny mathematical ability and frightening friends finds herself in over her head after rescuing a kidnapping victim.

Review:
I’m not a big fan of urban fiction, or of thrillers. This is both, and it draws on a lot of familiar elements; there are a lot of Jason Bourne moments here. There are few surprises and even the broad nature of the secondary mystery is telegraphed quite early. And yet, it works. I found myself, if not riveted, at least following along attentively and with interest. The writing was smooth, the characters engaging and interesting (if not always consistent).
Not all the handwaving at the book’s scientific premise works. The narrator’s ability often steps over the line into magic – this is an SF novel, but being good at math doesn’t mean you also know about physiology, etc. The character deploys differential equations at odd and seemingly unnecessary moments.
Still, despite some weak points, I enjoyed the book. It’s a fun read, and even though we pretty much see where it will all go, I’d be interested to read the next volume.
The entire series were originally self-published, but later picked up by Tor, which seems to have resulted in a resequencing and a new series name (Cas Russell instead of Russell’s Attic). Happily, the author has a thoughtful explanation on her website. This is a review of the original version of Zero Sum Game (but the cover shown is the new one).
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

23 April 2019   Science fiction | S.L. Huang | Cas Russell |

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