Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Replicant detective Bruna Husky really made this an enjoyable read. Set in futuristic Madrid, the story surrounds the mystery of why the replicants (androids, like in Blade Runner) are seemingly going mad, killing other replicants & then committing suicide (that they gouge out their eyes before the last is described in particularly harrowing clarity. *cringe*). There's an interesting class division that plays out as we follow Bruna's investigation. I won't give away the answer to the mystery but I will say I was surprised, even if it did feel a bit rushed in the revelation at the end. Her being able to be out & freely about tying up the last bit of the investigation after having been arrested & accused of some grisly murders is never really explained. She's just out. It's also not quite explained how she suddenly achieves exonerated celebrity hero status by the masses. It just happens & she's taken by surprise. That said, there were some great moments along the way. Three of my favorite are Bruna watching Blade Runner, her discussions with Natvel & Melba's appearance.
The archive entries of Yiannis were fascinating world-building entries that added a lot to the story & they didn't feel to me like completely blatant info-dumps. The bits that were struck through were particularly disturbing & kept me wondering who it was that had entered them without oversight (was the archive like WikiPedia?) until something was flagged, challenged or put forth to be deleted altogether. That it was part of the larger conspiracy was fine but ultimately it wasn't as relevant to the actual goings on in the mystery. I was taken with Nopal from the start & was glad when he resurfaced in the story with an interesting connection to Bruna in addition to helping with her investigation. I never figured out Lizard but he kept me guessing & I didn't see the final bit with him coming at all. The cadre of misfit aliens & hangers-on that Bruna collects as the story goes along was sort of endearing in much the same way that her friends who met at Oli's cafe were. In the midst of murders, suicides, riots & bombings, these elements added a counterbalance to the grief & made me glad that Bruna had a support system even if she didn't often see it. Her grief over the loss of Merlin was a bittersweet thread that ran throughout.
This is a translation and I thought well done. I've read some translations that suffered the "lost in translation" curse but I didn't feel that with this book. It all flowed & followed & so engagingly told that I was quite pulled in. I really cared about the characters. So much so that I wanted to overlook the flaws in pacing & plotting omissions. I would like to read another by Montes & will be on the look out for more of her books.
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