Hotspur's Reviews > The Automatic Detective

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
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's review
Jun 17, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Recommended to Hotspur by: Amazon Recommendations, actually
Recommended for: fans of cross genre fiction mashups, noir, and detective stories

Former evil wardroid Mack Megaton discovered he has "The Spark".. or the sense of self-awareness that turns a robot into an "automated citizen" with feelings, a sense of humor, curiosity and sense of self. This revelation causes him to turn on his creator, an evil genius.

It is now almost a year later, and Mack Megaton is trying to prove his worth as an "Automated Citizen" of Empire City-- a crazy hodgepodge burg of scientists, corporations, and technology run amok. Mack is having a hard go of it, being on probation by the High Council, a period of observation before he can become a citizen. In the meanwhile, Mack must demonstrate he is a law-abiding peaceful citizen and self-sustaining in his crappy job as a cab driver.

Things get complicated for Mack when he is drawn into a mystery that might prove to play a fundamental role in shaping Mack's future. Can Mack hold override his former wardroid programming to keep it together while he solves the mystery?

Told from Mack's point of view, Automated Detective is a fun read, albeit not too jaw-droppingly original. The noir dialect is a tad hackneyed in places and the story a tad predictable. However the fresh perspective of seeing life from the robot's vantage point adds much to a standard noir drama.

I recommend this book. It does not break new ground, but it is pleasant, engrossing and quite funny in places.

After having finished it.. I will stick with my four stars. Automatic Detective was a pleasant junk food read, the ending was no great twist, but I liked the noir stylings. Clearly, this book was a set up for a sequel, which wouldn't be a bad thing-- the setting is quite good and the characters fairly interesting. Martinez may want to venture out of Mack's mechanical head from time to time and see what can be seen in some of the other citizens of Empire City. I liked the supporting cast quite a bit, and would like to see more of them.

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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin Sounds like a fun mix/homage of two of my favorite genres. I'll look forward to checking this one out.

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