Thursday, May 27, 2021

Mathew Swain 1: Hot Time in Old Town by Mike McQuay

Mathew Swain 1
Hot Time in Old Town
by Mike McQuay
1981 Bantam

Proto-cyberpunk hard boiled detective story, done better and a year earlier than Blade Runner.  Mathew Swain is a wisecracking PI in the Chandler vein, hired by an aging millionaire to investigate the death of his son.  As is often the case, the investigation quickly gets personal and the original assignment gets all but forgotten.

Life is cheap in the world of the future. Entire apartment complexes are destroyed to cover evidence, laser cannons slice bodies and buildings in half, and meat wagons gather the corpses, dumping them in acid. Swain teams up with an old flame who runs the underground against an evil CEO, and dips it's toe in men's adventure levels of violence.

The action gets derailed by a diversion through mutant territory and being held for trial, which was just a bunch of sub-Three Stooges monkey cheese nonsense, before the plot gets resolved in a violent anti-climax.

Good mix of science fiction with hardboiled detective, but the mix of men's adventure and detective had some pacing issues.

Paperback from AbeBooks

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