D H Richards, author
Talbot Singh is a small time fixer who is happy to kick around level 29 of a massive city that reaches over a mile into the sky. It's a city where the higher you go the more riches you enjoy, and the appearance of someone from a higher level can only mean one thing—trouble. So when Talbot is hired to investigate the murder of a family friend, what seems like tragic violence tied to a simple burglary turns out to be much more when the authorities from upscale level 35 get involved. Finding himself tossed between the authorities from the rarefied air of the upper levels and organized crime from the gritty lower levels, Singh's investigation takes him from the dangerous backwater of level 8 to the spectacular wealth of level 45. But it is the second crime targeting his client's family that tears away the facade of a city with a bottom and a top and where the only way to escape leads to murder… or worse.
Fans of imaginative science fiction that integrates a whodunit plot line into a well-constructed imagining of the future, such as James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, will enjoy Richards’s thoughtful novel. Talbot Singh is an “assist,” whose job is “to make sure that when things happened to a family, those things went as well as could be expected.” Talbot has his hands full when a jeweler, Jay Mill, is shot to death in his store, but, since nothing was stolen, Talbot suspects that Mill was the target of a professional hit. In the best hard-boiled tradition, Talbot’s involvement rubs the official investigators the wrong way, forcing him to do his own discreet digging into the murder. But while the central concept is familiar, the setting is not. The killing takes place in an unnamed multilevel city connected by thousands of elevators; status is determined by the level on which one lives, and the cost of traveling to one of the top levels is half a year’s wages for the average resident. The superior worldbuilding offers plenty of potential for a sequel. (BookLife)
Jake Kerr Nebula nominated author of “The Old Equations”
“In the spirit of Asimov’s The Caves of Steel, Richards merges an oppressive dystopian city with futuristic detective work in this genre-busting page turner.”