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The Disappeared (Retrieval Artist #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,270 ratings  ·  158 reviews
His name: Miles Flint. His occupation: Retrieval Artist. His job: Hunt down the Disappeared--outlaws on the run, wanted for crimes against alien cultures. The catch: Flint isn't working on the side of the law.

In a universe where humans and aliens have formed a loose government called the Earth Alliance, treaties guarantee that humans are subject to alien laws when on alien
Paperback, 374 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Roc (first published 2002)
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickThe Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael ChabonThe Caves of Steel by Isaac AsimovThe City & the City by China MiévilleKingdom of Heroes by Jay  Phillips
Science Fiction Detective Novels
6th out of 99 books — 78 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Science Fiction Books by Female Authors
175th out of 1,159 books — 1,000 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dirk Grobbelaar

He was amazed that something so beautiful could be so dangerous.

This book was just a total pleasure to read.

The premise here is quite simple: in order to co-exist with the Alien cultures in the galaxy, and for commercial and political gain, humanity has to adhere to the laws and regulations laid down by the different Alien civilizations. Inter species crimes are judged by a multi “cultural” tribunal, and if guilt against a human is determined, a warrant is issued. This whole setup is bad news f
Mathew Walls
Interesting concept, but approached all wrong. I like the idea of a story about fugitives on the run from interstellar law, with the problems of members of one species being convicted under the laws of another, but for some reason the author decided to make the protagonists of this book law-enforcement officers who do everything in their power to not enforce the law, which is incredibly irritating.

Also, the featured fugitives are all really dumb. There're the ones who've been sentenced to have t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the prequel to Rusch's 2000 story, "The Retrieval Artist." As that was and is one of my favorite novellas of all time, I was eagerly anticipating this book, and not disappointed in the least.

Miles Flint is a first-year detective on the Moon Sector Police, with his tough experienced partner, Noelle DeRicci. Both are smart and somewhat on the fringe of the agency, and thus tend to pick up the cases others don't really want. As the book opens they are given a case in the Port, a mysterious
Does anyone remember that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the young Mr. Crusher faces a horrible punishment for breaking a fence? The idea behind that episode forms part of the background for this seasons.

The Disappeared is sci-fi C.S.I. with a twist. Inter-galactic treaties have led to a simple rule. You commit a crime on a planet, you face that planet's punishment, even if it means handing over your baby because you stepped on something. It's this premise that makes the book sc
May 04, 2012 Virginia rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Virginia by: Orson Scott Card
I do not want to live in the world Rusch has created in this series. It is too hard for me to read about aliens taking human babies/children as compensation/punishment/justice and humans allowing this to happen. Enough with the babies already! My heart just can't take it. In fact, I had to skip to the end to make sure I found out what happened before I would willingly continue reading.

Good story and descriptions but I think I will pass on the rest of the series.
Dawn Albright
Emotionally gripping and well written. This is a police procedural in a world where the police are obligated to honor alien legal systems that seem unethical to our society. I initially wasn't so keen on the world building, because I thought it was odd that so many alien races would end up with legal systems so similar to ours in procedure but so alien in terms of the rules. It's like the aliens were simultaneously too alien and not alien enough. But then I read the headlines in the newspapers a ...more
Micah R Sisk
Having just read The Retrieval Artist, the novella that began this series, and having previously read two of Rusch’s standalone Retrieval Artist novels, I’ve decided to start going through this series in order of publication.

The Disappeared steps back in time and follows the events that lead Miles Flint into becoming a Retrieval Artist: a private investigator dedicated to finding those who have “disappeared,” humans (usually) who have changed their identities and gone into hiding because of conv
Vanessa Grant
I loved this book. I thought I'd become jaded about reading Sci-Fi, but Kristine Kathryn Rusch changed my mind with The Disappeared, first in the Retrieval Artist series.

When I spotted this book a few days ago on a promotion and saw it was the first book in Rusch's Retrieval Artist series, I bought the eBook and started reading right away. Some years ago I'd enjoyed audio versions of one of Rusch's Retrieval Artist short stories, and was eager to read the first book.

Wow! Rusch is a skilled, hi
Lis Carey
Miles Flint and Noelle DeRicci, police detectives in Armstrong Dome on the Moon, have a problem.

They've been assigned to investigate first one, then two, then three ships arrived at the Moon under peculiar circumstances. These are quickly shown to be related to humans convicted of crimes against against alien laws, who have chosen to "disappear" rather than face their sentences.

The first contains three bodies, eviscerated in a Disty revenge killing.

The second carries five Wygnin and two human ch
Good science fiction mysteries are a rare commodity these days. Few have been able to successfully combine the two genres into some semblance of a decent story. Kristine Kathryn Rusch bucks this trend with The Disappeared , the first of the Retrieval Artist series of books. First introduced in The Retrieval Artist and Other Stories , Miles Flint is a detective with the police force in Armstrong Dome on the Moon. When a series of seemingly unrelated cases appear, Flint quickly puts together t ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Laurian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laurian by: Howard County Library
Shelves: fantacy
I burned through this book pretty quickly, which I found surprising given its more than lack-luster cover. Additionally, I had purchased her Black Queen and Black King series half a dozen years ago but haven't had a chance to read it yet. All signs pointed towards it being something that I would pick up from the library but not get around to reading it.

I can only be thankful for this magical thing that I have discovered called "paid leave". For four days vacation time I got about 10 days of sitt
This was like an old-fashioned detective story set on the moon. There was no character or relationship development to speak of, and the writing was...adequate. I'm never impressed by 3rd person omniscient narrators, popping in and out of characters' heads. The plot was just interesting enough to keep me reading without any particular concern for the characters involved.

What I did find intriguing was this exploration of one possible cultural conflict with alien cultures. The premise of the novel
I have no defense against a book about interstellar law, human rights, morality vs. law, ethics, police procedurals, due process, etc.

This book (and series) is my crack.
This was an incredibly unique and interesting story world. The alien cultures and the new human culture that evolved with its connections with alien races is just amazing.

However, I had a hard time feeling sympathy for any of the characters in this book, with the exception of the two detectives. I was rooting for the aliens to win about 2/3 of the way through.

I also didn't like the message about morality in it. (view spoiler)
A flag on the shelf at the bookstore encouraged fans of Lois McMaster Bujold to check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Her first book in this series wasn't in stock, so I decided to go with the library rather than gamble on something in the middle. This was a good move. While far from the worst thing I've read, I can find little in this book to positively compare to Bujold (of whom I most certainly Am a fan.) OK, they're both female sci-fi authors. And they both have a male lead character named Miles ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Kevin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
It is book 1 - not bad and probably worth trying book 2 of the series. It's kind of a police detective story where the main character is not as cold-hearted as the job would require long term.

Apparently our society becomes so tired that they will allow alien cultures to impose their laws and punishments on us. The punishments include the taking of first borns from the parents and permanently bringing them into the alien society.

There isn't much discussion about how these kidnapped children (or a
This is a part of series (marked as the first one, although it seems there is one shorter text before this one, which inspired the whole thing), but it's a closed one.

The future. People have colonized many bodies of the Solar system and some more distant places too, they can deal with a range of diseases and symptoms of old age and are in contact with several alien species. The cultural exchange brings many advantages, but there is a tricky part: their way of thinking is very different, especial
Marion Hill

Has anybody ever read a science fiction mystery?

I must admit I love when authors combine genres in their books. Dean Koontz is one of the masters of genre combining and twisting in his works. The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the first novel I’ve read that combines a standard science fiction setting with a traditional detective story theme.

Private detective Miles Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, have been assigned to solve a couple of case
Maria Snyder
I'm listening to this one during long car rides so it may take me a while to finish it :)

I finished on my trip to upstate NY and home - about 10 hours in a car!

This was a true science fiction book, with alien races and cultures. I enjoyed returning to the genre, and the story held my interest. The characters were engaging and I liked how the author explored how humans and aliens clashed over each of their laws - for example what is legal for humans might be a horrible crime for another race. And
A fascinating, compelling read. In this universe Earth has negotiated, for the sake of trade, a set of very disadvantageous diplomatic agreements which force humans to face the consequences of legal transgressions under alien laws. It is such a difficult problem that an industry of 'disappearances' has grown to allow people to hide from aliens.

This story sees the lead character, Miles, a newly minted detective, face the extreme difficulties these agreements can produce.

I did have some issues wit
I really enjoyed the world building in this book. Characters were secondary to me, but the writing and characters were in decent shape (no horrific breaks or unexplained choices).

The world created is a fascinating one. Humanity is now a small interstellar civilization, and has encountered a number of other species, bound together by a loose set of treaties and agreements in a League of Nations style, complete with inter-species courts (called Intercultural Courts).

Each species is allowed to appl
This is a well written book, but not quite my container of beverage. It is first and foremost a detective story and a thriller, and uses science fiction - set in a domed city on the Moon, dealing with several alien species and cultural conflicts - more like set dressing than anything else. I often get the same feeling watching science fiction on TV, and this story/series feels like it could have been written with that medium in mind. (For instance, the Moon's lower gravity and lack of air does n ...more
The average rating for this book is 3.71 (May 10, 2013)... This is the lowest score in my read section of books to have a 5 star rating from me. This is one of my favorite series, so why such a low score? Seeing that Orson Scott Card called this series "some of the best science fiction ever written," I like to think its a great series were the first book has been horribly underrated.

If you look at the ratings, 31% gave this book 3/5. What truly annoys me is when people score a book with an aver
Kathleen Dixon
I do get irritated when the blurb on the book (back cover in this instance) doesn't get it right. Sure, we know that this book is the first in the series Retrieval Artist, but the blurb says
Retrieval Artists help the lost find their way back home ...
. Well, we aren't even introduced to the concept of Retrieval Artists until we get really close to the end of this novel. The blurb then goes on to say something else that's incorrect. Did the blurb writer not read the book first??!

Now I've had my g
This is, a fascinating book that appeals to, something or other, of what I like in scifi. In part that's, if there are going to be aliens, they're not that central - not that I dislike aliens, they just don't do much for me.

That said, I find the central conceit of dealing with truly alien legal systems at once fascinating and far fetched. Of course other aliens would have different moral codes, different value placed on life, different senses of crime and thus different ways of dealing with crim
DeAnna Knippling
I was torn on whether I liked this one or not, right until the end.

The beginning of the book is based on really, really obvious reader manipulation: it's not just enough that a woman has to leave her whole world behind, but she has to take a last-minute phone call from her fiance, who has no idea. That kind of thing. A little boy who isn't just stolen by aliens, but afraid that the aliens will take his little sister.

The other major book that hit me this way was The Hunger Games, which I read 50
Tom Loock
Over the years, I have read a lot of short fiction by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and always enjoyed it, so picking up a longer work was overdue. The Disappeared was a good choice.
Other than to criticize it for not being exceptional (and why would I do a stupid thing like that?), this is a flawless novel, a very good introduction to the eleven book (so far) 'Retrieval Artist'-series - which apparently can be read in any order, though this is clearly the first - and I can highly recommend it.
The story
Nutshell version? This is an exploration of multi-cultural impacts seen through the lens of a traditional detective/mystery novel. The setting, story and cultures all transform this into science fiction, but when you distill it down you find a very classic story about a detective confronted with a conflict between enforcing the law and following his personal moral code.

The story is a solid story that engages rather quickly and rapidly tosses the primary characters from incident to incident, bui
So in the future we interact with alien species in a mostly friendly manner. Laws apply to you based on where you are so if you are on an alien's planet their laws apply. But what happens when the punishment for the law you broke makes no sense to our morality? For example, with one species if you commit certain crimes, your first born child (even if not yet born) must be turned over.

Enter the Disappearance businesses which will for a price, give you a new identity and relocate you.

But what happ
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Kristine Kathryn Rusch is an award-winning mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy writer. She has written many novels under various names, including Kristine Grayson for romance, and Kris Nelscott for mystery. Her novels have made the bestseller lists –even in London– and have been published in 14 countries and 13 different languages.

Her awards range from the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Aw
More about Kristine Kathryn Rusch...

Other Books in the Series

Retrieval Artist (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Extremes (Retrieval Artist, #2)
  • Consequences (Retrieval Artist, #3)
  • Buried Deep (Retrieval Artist, #4)
  • Paloma (Retrieval Artist, #5)
  • Recovery Man (Retrieval Artist, #6)
  • Duplicate Effort (Retrieval Artist, #7)
  • Anniversary Day (Retrieval Artist, #8)
  • Blowback (Retrieval Artist, #9)
  • A Murder of Clones (Retrieval Artist, #10)
  • Search and Recovery (Retrieval Artist, #11)
The New Rebellion (Star Wars) X-Men Diving into the Wreck (Diving Universe, #1) Extremes (Retrieval Artist, #2) Consequences (Retrieval Artist, #3)

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