The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist Novel Paperback – Mar 1 2011
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About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award. To keep up with everything she does, go to kriswrites.com. To track her many pen names and series, see their individual websites (krisnelscott.com, kristinegrayson.com, krisdelake.com, retrievalartist.com, divingintothewreck.com, fictionriver.com). She lives and occasionally sleeps in Oregon.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The setting of the novel is futuristic sci-fi. We've mastered space travel and now co-exist with several alien species in the universe, but that co-existence has led to misunderstandings and the consequences of harsh alien laws. This has led to Disappearance Services: witness protection programs for people who have broken alien laws. The main character (Miles Flint) is a cop on the moon who is called to investigate several cases involving alien/human conflicts, including vengeance killings and kidnapped children. The cases trace back to the Disappearance Services, and in the course of the investigation deeper conspiracies are uncovered.
The novel has a sci-fi setting, but it's written like a mystery/detective story. It's fast-paced, action-packed, and intriguing. Overall the writing is outstanding. There's enough physical detail about the world (alien societies, space travel, colonies, etc.) to paint a vivid picture, but not so much detail that you get bogged down (I'm looking at you, Dune...). The characters are well-thought out and interesting, and the storylines weave together in a way that makes sense.
This one's a real page-turner. Excellent sci-fi escapism that doesn't require a huge investment of time or mental energy. As soon as I was done with this one I was online ordering the next ones in the series. Highly recommend!
The Disappeared is a wonder in world-building on a massive scale, yet does an excellent job of keeping readers from being overwhelmed. Set in an undisclosed future timeframe, humanity has spread to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Most of the action in the novel takes place in Armstrong Dome, which is one of four major cities on the Moon. Miles Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, are called to the scene of a derelict ship that's been towed to the Moon. Aboard the ship are several eviscerated bodies that seem to point to an alien vengeance killing. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case quickly escalates into a conspiracy far larger.
Perhaps what's most unusual about The Disappeared is how little Rusch tries to focus on the science; this novel is very much about the characters and the mystery surrounding the plot. Most science fiction novels work extra hard to describe the background and history of their universes, but Rusch does not--there is no mention of what year the book is set in (hundreds of years in the future, at least), how humanity discovered other races, or how they learned to travel to other planets beyond our solar system. There is so little information about the history of the universe The Disappeared is set in, it actually improves the enjoyment of the story. While readers may be curious about the past, it's not at all important to the events in the novel--at least not in any meaningful way. Still, it's clear that the Retrieval Artist series has a very carefully and well-crafted universe to explore, and fans will reap the benefits in future entries of the series.
The characters in The Disappeared are well-developed, if not fully three-dimensional. The secondary characters have their own pasts, faults, and issues to deal with--in fact, they may be more developed than the main protagonists. Certainly Flint and DeRicci both have their flaws and challenges to overcome, it just seems like some of the changes the characters go through in the novel come about just a little too rapidly. Perhaps the fact that very little of the past is alluded to or described in this novel weakens their development just a bit. It's a minor criticism though, in a book that's difficult to find any faults with.
The alien races that Rusch has brought to life are unique, and, well, alien; it's just what a good science fiction story is supposed to be. The Rev, Wygnin, and Disty cultures appear to be very odd, at least in human terms. Again, the lack of a backstory here provides both intrigue, and provides subtle frustrations--readers will want to know much, much more about these races, but will learn little in the pages of The Disappeared. Hopefully, future installments in the series will shed more light on not only these alien beings, but their tumultuous history with Humans.
What's most astounding about this novel is how accessible it is. This is not some futuristic utopian--or dystopian, for that matter--novel hell-bent on destroying the Establishment. The Disappeared is a mystery first, with a science fictional world wrapped around it. The technology utilized hasn't seemed to advance much farther than that we own today--quite the opposite, in some circumstances. Sure, there are flying cars, spaceships, and cities on the Moon, but at times, readers will be hard pressed to believe they're not on Earth, in some typical city in North America.
The Disappeared is not the world's greatest detective novel--far from it, in fact. It is, however, an excellent science fiction novel that's very much a detective-story. It is certainly well worth the read, if for nothing other than the amazing universe that Rusch has created. With many other novels in the series, it's an excellent entry to the Retrieval Artist saga for any reader.
I needed to discover the reason for the woman’s disappearance, the fate of the baby. I was fascinated by the world Rusch created, and the moral dilemma of good people wrestling with right and wrong in a world where the law allowed children to be stolen from their parents, where humans could unwittingly cross a line that doomed them to devastating legal consequences meted out under multi-species legal agreements.
Rusch paired a burned-out investigator with a brilliant rookie detective whose personal tragedy forces him to examine everything he believes. The author has created a masterpiece!