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.
In the previous chapter Jake got a new partner whether he wants her or not. He’s a detective hot on a case. She’s an android with all the answers. It sounds like a TV show…oh wait, it was. Not the show based on these books. Look up Mann And Machine some time. I barely remember it myself.
Are our heroes still in escape mode or is it time for her knowledge of her of Beth and her father (being a Beth android I call Bethdroid to tell them apart while explaining things) and his connections to get to solving this mystery? It seems I’m running out of intro fodder and we’re only half-way through this book, so let’s get to it.
So…you know how I usually do these intros before reading the chapter to add authenticity? Well, the book did it to me again, having one chapter flow into the other to the point that it could have just been one chapter. In fact maybe part of this chapter should be part of the previous chapter. Let’s get into the review so I can explain.
The part that could have been in the previous chapter is the rest of Jake and Bethdroid escaping. As they make their way into an hidden garage with aircar they get away but another car manages to follow them. Personally, I’m already thinking Bethdroid has a tracking device in her as they try to figure out how they found the lab. Bennett Sands has visited before and neither of them trust him. And Sands is the one who funded this only for Doctor Kittridge and Beth to escape with it because of that lack of trust. Also they have a flying car with a gun on it, one that disables rather than blows stuff up, just like the rifles. I like this guy already. He uses non-lethal weaponry that still does the job.
In this section we learn that Jake’s father was stationed in Mexico and he apparently didn’t like his son very much, or that’s the impression Jake got. After Jake’s mother died he goes to live with him, which explains how he knows the area and possibly even his history with Warbride. At least it makes more sense than an LA cop who knows a Mexican warlord. It isn’t clear if Jake’s parents were divorced or if he was just serving away from home. We also learn that Bethdroid has a few gadgets built in, one of them being a stunner she uses to knock Jake out. Given recent events he’s not happy about that even if it was just because Bethdroid decided the “old man” needed sleep. Like he says, he should be the one to decide that and between the Freezer and people trying to kill them he has good reason to be annoyed.
Otherwise I really like the association between the two. Bethdroid is a bit sure of her self but not necessarily cocky and Jake is the world-weary ex-cop who has seen a lot. They make a good pair and I like their, for lack of a better term, relationship in chapter 19.
Maybe where it should have stopped if not putting the escape in chapter 18 is before they reach the restaurant for breakfast, since a man shows up and rather loudly announces who they are. So much for secrecy. Really, this whole thing with a reporter who was trying as best he can to support Jake and once interviewed Kittridge only sets up that Sands was pushing to make Jake look as guilty as possible in the press, as if we needed more reasons to suspect Sands in Jake’s frame-up. Bethdroid does mention that if Sands was trying to get a rival for Jake’s wife it could cloud his judgement and “Beth” wants to find her father. All this leads to Jake getting upset at her, reminding her she isn’t the real Beth. So in these two chapters we’ve seen two sides of their interaction, the friendly and the part that they’ll have to overcome if they’re going to be good partners.
Then we finally have Jake’s contact reaching them, setting up a meeting with another contact who might get him in to see Warbride. Jake must go alone, and Beth’s concern is understandable, given what they’ve been through thus far. She doesn’t even know about Jake’s history with Warbride or her new jealous boyfriend. However, these kind of meet-ups are not new to Jake so he agrees to go alone. That’s where we’re going next chapter. These two were also quite good as it establishes characters and character interaction with our two current main characters, with all the future stuff only in service to the story rather than showing off the worldbuilding. Glad to see the book improving as we go on.
Will Jake’s contact betray him? Will Bethdroid sneak along without Jake knowing and will she have to save him or cause him further trouble? Most likely we’ll find out next time.