Review: KOP Killer

Posted: December 14, 2012 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Warren Hammond, Science Fiction

Like the hair in your panna cotta, or the blow fly in your bisque, a bad salesman will most often destroy the goodness that surrounds it, no matter how much of that goodness may be available. At least, it will often destroy the idea of large-scale goodness for me. This single idea represents one of the most important reasons why I just couldn’t bring myself to love this most recent read. And yet, I will often pull the fly out and eat the soup anyhow. I mean, who can resist a good soup!

KOP KILLER by Warren Hammond (Amazon), is the third book in his Kop series, but is handled well-enough that it has little problem standing on its own. The story is set on the planet of Lagarto, where the long day and night cycles make for some interesting dynamics, and nearly every inhabitant living there understands that their lives can sink no further than this.

Juno Mozambe is a waste of a man. His wife is dead. He’s lost his job with the Koba Office of Police (KOP), where he and his now dead partner ran the joint with a pair of fists dirtier than septic tank cheese balls. Now all he has left is his wits, a few of his old connections, and his drive to see KOP taken down. So he’s hired a few cops that are still on the beat and still dirty as he is and starts a business as a thug for hire. But things are never as simple as they seem, and very soon Juno is juggling more pins than he has hands.

This book really has a lot going for it. It’s dark, gritty, and fast-moving. Right from the get-go we have a large number of characters with history that shapes the way they interact with one another. Juno is strong and driven toward a single goal, and the frenetic pacing of the novel never once lets you rest. It’s part police procedural, and part dystopian science fiction, but all punch and kick and scream. The largest hit to its karma, though, comes through the poor sales of Juno as a “bad guy”. From the very beginning he’s out to let everyone know just how terrible he really is, and yet the way that he thinks about and responds to the various situations in which he finds himself made me think of him more as weak and scared and often incompetent.

Also despite his rock-solid driving force at the beginning, as the end of the book gets closer his driving force wavers all over the place: from destroying KOP, to setting up a new leader for KOP, to avenging the deaths of several people, to killing someone that is even worse than he is, to… It soon got very confusing why he was doing anything that he did, other than the fact that one event led him to next and the next and finally to the end.

KOP KILLER is dark, gritty, and fast-moving. Sure it has a few setting issues, but the plot plays out in satisfying ways.

The second bad sell was the alien planet bit. There’s very little to no atmosphere or detail contained in the story to give the impression that these events are actually happening anywhere other than Earth. Yes, there’s a long day/night cycle. And a spaceship blasts off into the sky once. And he eats four different gecko tacos that dribble hot sauce onto various parts of his anatomy. But still. It was a tough sell for me.

And yet, despite these fairly large flaws, I liked the way that things played out. Hammond’s prose isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination but it’s strong and connective. It pulls you along, and relays a story that is twisted, and strange, and ultimately engaging, even if it’s not perfect. Reminded me quite a bit of the little Richard K. Morgan I’ve read, though I’ve seen that comparison bandied about a lot lately.

Sound decent? If it does, give it a whirl. It’s probably a book for you.

  • Recommended Age: 18+
  • Language: Frequent. Strong. Sometimes distracting.
  • Violence: Very high. Gory, bloody, and descriptive.
  • Sex: Numerous, strong references throughout

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