Review – The Dark Side by Anthony O’Neill

Posted: April 22, 2016 in Sci-Fi
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The Dark Side is an eminently readable book. I mean that in the best possible way. It effortlessly blends the feel of a hardboiled crime novel with the science and scope of a plausible far-future tale. The pace of the book, with it’s cut-away chapters to a narrator who oversees the whole environment, really adds a noir-esque element to story. It’s a mash of styles that Anthony O’Neill has layered together perfectly.

Featuring the city of Purgatory, situated on the far side of the Moon, and the enigmatic (and villainous) Fletcher Brass the similarities to a Las Vegas crime novel are clear to make. But, it’s the true killer at the heart of the story which gives The Dark Side it’s edge. A psychotic android, reprogrammed and out of control is one thing but Leonardo Black is something else. Grinning, exceptionally polite and totally unhinged, Black’s murderous journey to Purgatory adds a creeping, inevitable terror that counterpoints the story of Lieutenant Damien Justus .

A scarred, fiercely honest cop forced to flee Earth to protect his daughter, Justus is everything you’d want from a hard bitten, no-nonsense crime novel. On the face of it, he’s thrown in the deep end, seemingly being played by all the major factions vying for power in the Moon’s less than salubrious colony. But, Justus is no chump. He’s seen his far share of the dark side and isn’t going to be anybodies stooge.

The political arm wrestling between Fletcher Brass and his daughter place Justus right in the middle of a turf war. The corrupt police department he is assigned to adds to the atmosphere and coupled with the richly detailed and considered world that O’Neill has created, The Dark Side flows off the page. It’s neatly constructed, wonderfully written and wrapped up with clever science. Anthony O’Neill has delivered a story that is equal parts pulp detective novel and killer cyborg sci-fi, and it’s perfect for fans of both genres.

Review copy
Published by Simon&Schuster

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