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KOP Killer    by Warren Hammond order for
KOP Killer
by Warren Hammond
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

KOP Killer follows Kop and Ex-KOP as the third in an SF/noir mystery series set on Lagarto, a slum planet where corruption is rife and life is cheap. Juno Mozambe lives and works in the capital city of Koba. Lagarto once had a booming economy that attracted immigrants, but then its main export of expensive brandy was artificially replicated and it was all downhill after that.

Once an idealistic young policeman, Juno became chief enforcer and right hand man to police chief Paul Chang who was murdered in Kop. Now off the force, Juno remains close to his ex-partner, wealthy policewoman Maggie Orzo. She is as idealistic as he used to be and sees in him 'a broken man trying to fix himself.' In Ex-KOP, Juno helped Maggie solve horrific serial killings involving offworlders and corrupt policemen. And he lost the love of his life, Niki, after she finally succumbed to her personal demons.

Now, as KOP Killer opens, Koba is falling apart with regular riots and (unbeknownst to Maggie) Juno is blackmailing several corrupt policemen to work for him in a protection racket. When their terribly mutilated corpses start showing up, Juno becomes a suspect. Upriver cops are involved as is an offworld doctor, whom Mengele would have admired. Snail juice is a factor and there's a clue in the sexual habits of a 'stripe-faced man-eater' lizard.

This episodes ends with a race against time - Juno needs to get to the killer before the Kops do, so that he can plant the evidence needed to fix his version of events as the truth. Of course he succeeds but not without being seriously singed around the edges. And he and Maggie, despite their differences, become partners again. If you enjoy SF noir, this well written series is not to be missed.

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