I have met a lot of writers online. Most of them are fine people. Many of them have books out there. And if I tell them in great excitement that I am going to read their books, they will be expecting to hear from me. Which puts me in a real dilemma if I read their books and don't enjoy them. Just because I like someone on Facebook doesn't mean they know how (or even want) to write the kind of book I like to read. So having learned the hard way, I keep my mouth shut now. I sneak off and borrow the books from the library, or pick them up as Kindle specials on Amazon, and read them without any fanfare. If I don't like them, the author never has to know. After all, one of the advantages of knowing a lot of writers is that it is simply impossible to read everything they have produced.
So it's always a great pleasure when one of my sneak reads turns out to be worth reporting on. Like Metered Space, by M.D. Benoit. A typical private eye story, a little on the noir side, complete with alcohol issues, a femme fatale, a love-hate relationship with the local cops, and aliens. Aliens who literally can't keep it together and who won't take no for an answer. Okay, so maybe it's not so typical. After all, the bombshell with street smarts is also a brilliant research scientist. Or was. She was also the lady love of Jack Meter's life, but died violently three years before the beginning of the story, which goes a long way toward explaining the alcohol issues. Jack just wants to commit suicide by bottle and go join her and is genuinely resentful when the aliens abduct him, repair his corroded liver with nanotechnology or some such magic, and expect him to gratefully pledge himself to their service. His curiosity finally overcomes his resentment and Jack is given a kind of portable teleportation device that has him merrily skipping across worlds in pursuit of an evil scientist whose nefarious schemes threaten the physical integrity of the entire universe. (There! I finally got to use the word “nefarious” in a review!) It's campy, it's ridiculous, and it's fun, in a horrible noir kind of way. We're a long way from the mean streets of Ottawa, baby! It's perhaps not Gourmet Reading, but even gourmets can enjoy a night out at a Roadhouse, can't they? They can, they do, I did. Of course, it helps that Benoit handles words with flair. I might be willing to scarf down some sweet potato fries now and again, but they better be crisp.
So big thanks to Dominique for taking me out of my comfort zone and making me enjoy it. And as I discovered as I finished this review, she is offering Metered Space as a free download on her website. So you don't have to take my word for it. Click right here!