Book Review: Dead Space by Kali Wallace

Dead Space

Author: Kali Wallace

Publication Date: 02 March 2021

Genre: Adult Fiction – Science Fiction (Police Procedural)

Pages: 336

Publisher: Berkley

An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic space station in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day.

Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life—and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind.

Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.

Wait? Am I getting my sci-fi mojo back? Is that what this is?

A police procedural set in space with queer characters?! HELL YES! I was 100% here for this book.

When it comes to sci-fi, I am quick to DNF books when the science described isn’t actual science. Y’all don’t understand the sheer joy I felt when Kali Wallace described the accurate and dire conditions of Titan (Saturn’s largest moon and the moon my cat is named after) that the main character’s team would face during colonization attempts. Which is to say that rovers would be doing all of the work because humans literally CAN’T withstand the conditions. End rant.

Okay, so back to the story.

Hester Marley has been dealt a raw deal. After a mission that spectacularly failed, she now has robotic parts, swimming in debt, and stranded on a planet that isn’t her home. Now Hester has been assigned to a case where an old colleague of hers has been brutally murdered, and it’s a race against time to find the culprit before the body count starts piling up.

Right off the bat, this story sets the stage for a high octane, heart pumping murder mystery that is set within the confinements of space (hello claustrophobia my old friend).

In addition to the murder mystery, I loved that we got to see the consequences of space colonization and how privatization and capitalism ultimately leads to the same discrimination that today’s society is all too familiar with.

What Kali Wallace pulled off really well in this book is leading you up to certain events, but pushing past those boundaries to go even further than that. I know that sounds incredibly vague, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers, and trust me you want to experience it for yourself.

Overall, this has definitely renewed my faith in giving more sci-fi a chance, and I can’t wait to read more of what Kali Wallace has to offer the genre!

Thank you to Berkley Pub for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Grab your copy of Dead Space below:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org | Book Depository | Blackwell’s | Kobo | Librofm

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