Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
We’re about 1/3rd into the book, the twelfth chapter, and the investigation is only just starting. Last chapter Jake Cardigan finally met his new boss, Walter Bascom, and got the latest information on the man and daughter he’s trying to find, who may have a new weapon in the war against the digital drug Tek. Somehow I don’t think the book is quite ready to stop showing us how in The Future they are but at least the story is finally moving forward past showing off. It’s about time.
The question I have at this stage is what role will the ex-wife and son play in this story or is that set-up for a future story. So much of what we have has been more worldbuilding than plot, and while I’m sure Shatner was hoping for a series of novels (which we do now have) it made the same mistake as Op Center in that it was more interested in setting up the series (when it wasn’t setting up The Future) than in moving the plot along. And yet Tekwar has still managed to move the story forward more at this stage of the book than Op-Center did. So let’s see what direction the story is going to take…because when we ended things Jake had just been kidnapped by a robo-cabbie
Welcome to the quandary that is this review. One thing this book STILL shares with Op-Center is the annoying pacing, and even then Tekwar is up on points. This chapter is only…five pages is generous given that half of the starting chapter’s page in this book is just the chapter number and it ends on half a page. It’s more like four chapters in length. And yet the next chapter starts a new scene apart from this. Figuring out how to know when to do multiple chapters a review is going to be a pain.
Also a pain is we have yet another faction this story. We have Bascom trying to find Kittridge on behalf of the insurance agence, we have the Tek lord Sonny Hokori, we potentially have Warbride and her deadly jealous boyfriend, who will at least be a factor in this story, we have the police who have a grudge against Jake, and now we have Kurt Winterguild of the International Drug Control Agency, who is the one who forced the robo-cabbie to take Jake to an old theme park based around a crashed alien ship. (I’m not sure if the ship is supposed to be real, but that’s the indication the narration gives. Winterguild is apparently going to be the obligatory government agent telling the detective to “stay out of this” and that’s a cliché I wouldn’t have missed, frankly. He also shows up via hologram just to give this warning, so unless this group plays a part in this story I don’t see the point in this whole scene.
I’m also wondering if this book was intended to have further divisions, like Star Trek: Prime Directive but something changed along the way. Or maybe it was in the original hardcover and they dropped it from the paperback? I don’t know but having a better division of scenes and situations in this book would be nice. I don’t want to jump into the next chapter because that appears to start a whole new arc in the story, which leaves me trying to make this chapter review something resembling a decent article length…which means I spent more time complaining about how short the chapter is than it probably took to read and review the chapter itself. Again, pacing is an issue in this book. The previous chapter should have ended with the kidnapping. This isn’t a TV show (that would come later) so you don’t need cliffhangers of this style before the non-existent commercial break.
Maybe I need to start just reviewing up to the blank page that divides sections or something, but on the odd chance that someone actually uses this article series as intended and reads along I don’t know if their copy suffers the same issues mine does. Next time we’ll see what Jake, and I, plan to do next.