Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Defect. (The New Space Opera 2).

A bit of a disappointment from Rusch – a fairly routine thriller-cum-locked-room-mystery set in space. The lead is an ex-special operative, the ex- due to her deciding that mass murder was not something she was willing to do. She is also an ex-wife, and ex-mother, as he had previously left her husband and son behind to carry on with her duties. We learn this quickly, as she finagles her way into a recently-docked spaceship, where her son is found near-death. He is saved by the spacestation medics, and is soon able to join her in hunting down the person who attacked him, and murdered the rest of the ship crew and passengers – including her father.

Stretched out over a novella, or even a novel, there could be plenty of scope for building on this short story to give depth, and to get to know the characters better. However, it’s rushed through at breakneck speed, with little mystery, as things happen very quickly and progress the story with almost indecent haste.

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