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Summary

A murder mystery set on the frozen red wastes of Mars.

Eight astronauts. One killer. No way home.

We stand at the dawn of a new era.

Frank Kitteridge is serving life for murdering his son's drug dealer. So when he's offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations - the company that runs the prison - he takes it, even though it means swapping one life sentence for another.

There has never been a better time to be alive.

He's been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is - and he'll have to learn to trust them if they're to succeed.

The future of space travel is in safe hands.

As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply. Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all....

Xenosytems Operations: making dreams a reality.

There's a murderer amongst them, and everyone's a suspect.

©2018 S.J. Morden (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group Limited

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It Is Apparently Rocket Science!

Seven convicts, offered a choice, life imprisonment or life on Mars. What's not to like?

S J Morden and his fictional XO Corporation blast seven lifers with special skills off to Mars to build a base with which to begin Mars exploration. Morden's bona fide rocket scientist credentials have been used to good effect and he treats us to an enjoyable sci-fi thriller.

This includes in part the problem-solving attributes of The Martian with what is in essence a good old-fashioned murder mystery set on the cold wastes of Mars. With this Mars we aren't talking the relatively gentile world of Agatha Christie though. This is a genuinely frontier land battle for survival.

Morden spends some effort backing up his premise to make it seem credible and if I were a cynic I would suspect there's some real-life experience of modern corporate culture in there.

All in all, not a bad read at all.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A sequel would be nice

To add to to “The Martian” comparison, I would hazard Duncan Jones’ “Moon” was somewhat of an influence too - it certainly gave me that feel in my gut now and again. Anyway I loved it. Some reviewers felt the secondary characters were rather shallowly drawn but I felt they were about right for the plot and a book of this length, so I’ve no complaints there.
For me the story flew by - particularly as I had no desire to listen to any other material once I’d begun and that’s not true of many.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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gripping sci fi thriller

gripping and plausible story. well thought out. interesting set of characters. could not stop listening.

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Thoroughly enjoyable and mostly believable story

Not set so far in the future, so no great stretch of imagination.
The readers voice was just right for the story.
Without spoiling the story, just a bit strange that when people started dying, not everyone was under suspicion.
Very enjoyable and easy to identify with the lead character.
Loved it.

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  • Kristian
  • Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • 03-06-18

Entertaining

I found it a good book to listen to while driving long journies, but predictable in the way you knew the ending before the ending, however there was the journey to the ending that was not as predictable.
Overall enjoyable and well read.

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Enjoyable

Unfortunately for me I found William Hope a little too quite at times. That’s mostly due to the listening conditions I suppose. Not always using headphones. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Thoroughly out of this world experience

The narrators voice is perfect for this book. The characters are carefully nurtured and specific. I enjoyed the build up to Mars and the slow burn....but not too slow a burn of life on Mars. Lovely listening o a story that removed me from Earth!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful