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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Tor Books, 240 pages, $24.99 (release date - 11/15/15)

If Raymond Chandler wrote about a robot. If a book contained as many similes as there are feet on a milipede. If a one-ton robot walked into a bar. These are the suppositions that guide Adam Christopher’s “Made to Kill,” subtitled “The LA Trilogy, volume 1.”

It is 1965 in L.A. Raymond Electromatic is the last robot on earth because all the other robots have been disabled. He is a public private eye and a secret assassin. His able assistant (or handler) is a room-sized computer named Ada. Raymond (too) frequently imagines he can hear “her” smoking, moving a squeaky chair, rifling through papers, even though she is a massive, boxy, stationary computer. One of Raymond and Ada’s prime directives appears to be “stay solvent.” In order to do so, Ada figured out that Raymond must offer his services as a hitman for big pay.

So, a blonde walks into the office with a million dollars in unmarked gold bars and wants Raymond to kill a movie star. Ada and Raymond don’t seem particularly fazed by the morality of the request. They must stay solvent, after all.

It takes a while to locate the target, and during the search, Raymond stumbles across some fishy circumstances. If only he could remember things for more than just 24 hours it would be helpful. The magnetic tape that comprises his memory expires after 24 hours. Ada must provide a synopsis every morning of what came before. The blonde and the target are part of something big, weird … and campy. Does Raymond carry over enough knowledge to figure out what it is?

Will Raymond and Ada somehow wind up as forces for good? Will Raymond remember enough to prevent the ominous disaster lurking on the horizon like a cloud as dark as a smoker’s lung?

Although "Made to Kill" has more similes than a leopard has useful spots, its comic-book style is entertaining. Some pieces of Raymond and Ada's story certainly will deserve further explication in the next two volumes.

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