Death of a Clone
DEATH OF A CLONE by Alex Thomson Rebellion Publishing Abaddon Books Mystery & Thrillers , Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date 12 Jul 2018
One part murder mystery, one part speculative fiction, Death of a Clone examines the nature of identity and its reliance on memory. Hell is a small mining colony on an asteroid far from earth. The workers are genetically engineered clones divided into families according to purpose - 5 Ays, 6 Bees, 6 Jays, and 2 Ells. All family members are identical in appearance, but there are also deeper similarities which become clear as you read. In addition to the clones, there are three human overseers who manage the groups. It is important to remember that all of the clones believe they will be sent to earth at the end of their 7 year tenure.
When her sister is killed, Laila begins investigating her murder, using the techniques she learned from reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries. Haunted by elusive memories and troubled by the strange inconsistencies she discovers, Laila begins to realize that everything they believed may be wrong, and that seeking justice may have far reaching consequences.
The premise is an intriguing one - a clone investigating her sister’s murder. The potential for deception is high, as it is difficult to distinguish between individual family members. The Ays consciously try to make their appearances different, but the Bees and the Jays do not (sometimes consciously encouraging confusion). Could one person of an identical (genetically) set be a murderer without the rest knowing or being complicit? On the other hand, there are the overseers - but what threat could Lily have posed? Laila is both searching for her sister’s killer and following in her sister’s footsteps.
Death of a Clone is one of the more unusual tributes to Agatha Christie that I’ve come across. There are flaws here and there, but most of those can be attributed to the narrator. Some are harder to accept, leaving the reader wondering. For example why is there no means of communication with earth. Surely they want the minerals being mined on the asteroid and would need some way of knowing what supplies need to be replenished. I was a bit disappointed by Thomson taking the easy out for the solution, but I still enjoyed the novel. Death of a Clone is a promising debut. I look forward to seeing where Alex Thomson goes from here.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Death of a Clone from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
DESIGNED. MANUFACTURED. EXPENDABLE... The Overseers may call it Hell, but for Leila and the others clones, the mining base on asteroid Mizushima-00109 is the only home they've ever known. But then Leila's sister Lilly is murdered, and the overseers seem less interested in solving the crime than in making their mining quota and returning to Earth. Leila decides to find the murderer, just like the heroes of her old detective novels would. But Hell is a place of terrible secrets, and courage and determination—and a love for mysteries—may not be enough to keep Leila from ending up like her sister. For fans of Agatha Christie and cozy crime mysteries with a twist! Alex Thomson's debut cements him as an author to watch.