Corey, James S. A. -- Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, 1)

All the clever things I thought of to say about this book are called out explicitly in the authors' notes. Ah well. SF noir: the not-quite-fallen hero working on behalf of the not-quite-corrupt solar system.

The cover says "space opera", but this is the grimy near-term sort of SF, which is not what "space opera" means to me. It has canned monkeys whizzing around the solar system, but the outer planets are Far Away even with the hush-it's-really-good constant-thrust fusion drive. (The authors also work in the fact of really-good anti-radiation meds, which takes care of the other realism issue of canned monkeys.) (And speaking of the phrase "canned monkeys", there's also a reference to the debt issue of founding colonies, which I guess means that everybody's a Stross fan now.)

Anyhow, I liked it. It touches on a lot of political issues in a non-stupid way. I don't mean it's an in-depth exploration of politics; it's not, it's a bang-zoom action plot that grudges every paragraph not spent chasing, rioting, shooting, or sustaining life-threatening injuries. But the plot threads of secrecy and whistle-blowing are dipping in and out of the weave, everywhere; and the interesting conflict of those threads is not between the good guys and the bad guys. One protagonist does something because it's clearly right, and the other protagonist explains how it's clearly wrong, and the narrative is on both their sides.

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