Book Review - Duckett & Dyer
In full disclosure, as a judge for the 2021 Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC), I read this book as it is a Finalist. However, a sci-fi/comedy/mystery is something I would read recreationally, so I was excited to have this book reach the top of my TBR.
The story launches from page one, an engaging prologue action scene that asks all the right questions that I really wanted answered and was anxious to turn the page and find out. Duckett and Dyer are interesting characters with distinct voices and relatable qualities, so it’s easy to root for them. Their personality quirks bring them to life, and their back-and-forth banter shows the closeness of their relationship.
The humor and use of pop-culture references starts strong with hilarious yet mundane human interactions, making me laugh several times through the opening chapters. GM Nair’s similes and metaphors are fresh and funny, and the cantankerous cop provides an excellent foil to the bumbling detectives. With several simultaneous story threads, there’s plenty of mystery to really wonder what is going on.
However, the middle of the book lags for me as the humor turns from subtle snark to absurdity, and the mystery plot is overshadowed with the novelty of bizarre worlds. The characters handle horrible situations and resulting deaths with indifference and wonder rather than the shock, second-guessing, and self-reflection that would have helped overall character development and growth.
The ending rallies, bringing together most of the various plot lines and weaves them together into an entertaining story. A few questions unexpectedly remain unanswered, but I hope they are addressed in subsequent books.
The book features well-described settings, good pacing, fun characters, and hilarious chapter names. But the writing does have intermittent issues such as vague pronouns, misspellings, missing punctuation, and POV issues that an editor should have caught. Overall, a fun read.