Cyrano's Reviews > The Automatic Detective

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
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Jun 05, 09

Read in June, 2009

If Raymond Chandler and William Gibson had one drunken night, nine months later, this book would be born. And if you had to pick two genres to mash, Cyberpunk and Noir are very well suited to the task. Their gears mesh in darkly readable ways.
This is a coming of age story, really, about a tactical combat robot who starts as a self-focused isolated unit just getting by, and then develops a sense of concern not just for individuals as friends but for the city as a whole. The author makes an effort to play our protagonist as a robot, with believably robotic concerns and outlooks, rather than a tough guy in a metal suit, and it has to work because Mack Megaton is The Other. What he is makes the people he's supposed to be learning to care about turn away from him.
Not to say that this book is a study of alienation and inevitable death spiral of civilization--this book is a lot of fun, and it doesn't forget that. The dialogue is snappy (as it should be), the situations are occasionally ludicrous, and from time to time the story could be defined as 'rolicking'. I laughed. Out loud.
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