“Prism City: Gun for Hire & Heir to an Empire“ is the debut novel of L.K. Weir and was published earlier in 2020 by Prism City Press. I came about reading it when I saw the author describe her work as science fiction noir (or something similar). Back in my youth I was a fan of film noir and had even once made a four minute promotional film noir for a business system I was implementing for a former employer. So the author essentially had me hooked with the description. This said, I was a little apprehensive because LK Weir is a first time author and her work was fresh off the press. I am usually disappointed by such novels and really did not want to be disappointed again.
Dark and brooding. Think Blade Runner or Altered Carbon meets Casablanca meets (to a lesser extent) Dynasty.
Despite being a science fiction novel I often felt I was in a 1920s gangster film. This is not a bad thing. I enjoyed it.
I also felt a Peter F Hamilton vibe about the atmosphere of the novel. I don’t know why. I just did.
This is one of those novels with two separate plots that eventually merge. One is about an ex-cop in hiding who has made himself a new life in a rough part of town on the assumption that his wife died when they both fled their former lives. He now makes a living helping others escape their own situations, but in doing so falls foul of someone who is essentially a Mob Boss. Violence and despair follows.
The second plot revolves around the heiress to the most powerful organisation in Prism City and what she has to do to survive when her life is unexpectedly shattered by an assassination. During her subsequent journey traversing other levels of society she learns more about herself.
The thing I enjoyed most about the plot was that it tricked me. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, it would twist. Bang! This delighted me because the timing was perfect. It was like playing chicken with the author (if that makes any sort of sense).
The novel does contain some very familiar themes and this is not a bad thing. The most obvious are:
- Making choices/decisions and how they can impact your life
- Rich people not understanding what life is like for the poor
- Abuse of power over others
- The multifaceted nature of the human mind
- How we do not really appreciate what we have until we lose it
I really enjoyed the writing. It was mature and to the point, yet with a lovely turn of phrase. Several times I found myself pausing after reading a sentence, then rushing off to my own novel to see if I could attempt a similar technique.
Don’t be fooled. Even though this is part of a series, the book does stand as a complete story in its own right, having a satisfying conclusion with few threads left hanging. I cannot wait till the next in the series.
So do read this book. Do!
I feel that we are possibly on the ground floor of seeing a new star in the genre.
Thanks for reading