THE BODY IN THE ZERO GEE BROTHEL By Cameron Cooper
Ptolemy Lane Tales 1.0
Space Opera Science Fiction Novelette
Meet Ptolemy Jovan Lane, a unique peacemaker.
Laws are hard to hold, out in the fringes of known space, but Ptolemy Lane is charged with maintaining peace under the dome of Georgina’s Town, among humans, the docile emre and more.
When a body is discovered in a zero gee suite in the local casino’s brothel wing, Lane is reluctant to get involved. The casino is off limits to his style of law keeping. Only, the body is the casino’s owner, Guisy Oakmint, and Doc Lowry is insisting Lane investigate. Lane soon learns why…
“The Body in the Zero Gee Brothel” is the first Ptolemy Lane story in the science fiction series by award-winning SF author Cameron Cooper.
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Very interesting, beautifully written, complex story. There were so many threads set up that it’s easy to see this new series continuing forever. Nevertheless, I would much prefer this tale to evolve into a series of full novels rather than novelettes. It has so much potential!!
I reviewed an Advance Reader copy of this book.
The wonderful word-pictures create a world so Other that I'm fascinated to know more. Aliens live amongst the humans but they are the norm and it's not the aliens that challenge the conventional way of life. I was engrossed by the compact world built above and below ground that is protected by a dome. Every titillating description of detail was shared because it set the scene and was always relevant to the action of the story.
The compelling characters with hints of mystery kept me enthralled.
The murder mystery unfolded at an energetic pace and kept me absorbed.
I look forward to seeing more of Ptolemy Lane and others from his world!
From the cover and title I was expecting some type of wild west/mystery noir mashup set in space - and in a way that is what this is, but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the world building. The murder mystery is rather straight forward; the twists are all in the reveals about the society in which it takes place, the greater galaxy around them, and their history and potential futures. Short, quick read, but a lot to think about. This is a complete story arc, no cliff hanger. There is definitely a lot of potential for rich, nuanced story telling in this world. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
This author never fails to surprise and delight. Yes, there is a murder to be solved. But even more importantly a new world is slowly brought to life to the reader. Throw your preconceived notions out prior to reading. Original and entertaining.
When I started reading this new series, the first thing that came to mind was WOW, I felt like I was in a black and white sci-fi avant-garde movie. Humphrey Bogart is in the background somewhere, smoking a Camel cigarette, or maybe a future Sherlock Holmes. The main character, Ptolemy Jovan Lane, shows us that a small time peacekeeper doesn't mean he's low on brains, but even he gets a small surprise at the end. The femme fatale , well I'm not going to give any spoilers. Let me close by saying author Cameron Cooper is filled with some really great sci-fi stories and I can't wait to see what her Ptolemy is going to run into next.
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EXCERPT FROM THE BODY IN THE ZERO GEE BROTHEL
COPYRIGHT © CAMERON COOPER 2021
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
A stranger was sitting behind Ninety-Eight’s desk when I strolled into the station on the morning of my 25,000th day on Abbatangelo. He was a nervous fellow with fine brown hair, big eyes and long fingers. I should have taken his appearance as a portent, but I just flat didn’t care.
The nervous one gulped when he saw me. “Mr. Lane. Sir. I mean…do I call you Sherriff?”
“Not if you want me to answer.” I was tempted to brush by but said, instead, “Who are you?”
“I…um…Hyland. Emily didn’t tell you?”
I had just wanted to get to my desk and check messages, so I could call the day done and go home. A quart of Martian brandy, a gift from a client, was calling my name. Instead I swore and studied Nervous. “She quit on me?”
“She didn’t tell you…” He picked at the controls on the smart desk. The film on the top was coming loose, which meant the desk wasn’t as smart as it should be.
“That was the deal,” I said. “She can quit whenever she wants, as long as she finds and trains a replacement. That’s the deal with you, as well. Got it?”
“You’ve said that more than once before, haven’t you?” Then he pressed his fingers to his lips as if he was more shocked than me by what he had said.
“Okay, listen, Ninety-Nine, we’ll get along much better if—” I didn’t get to finish, because his smart desk lit up.
He stared at it. I didn’t think it was possible for his eyes to get bigger, but they did.
“That’s your cue,” I told him.
He prodded experimentally.
I reached over and tapped the connect button. The holograph formed over the top. I knew the man’s face a little.
Ninety-Nine managed to stutter, “Ptolemy Lane’s office.”
The face frowned. “Lemme speak to Lane.”
Ninety-Nine could see me through the hologram, so I shook my head.
“Mr. Lane says he’s not here.”
I sighed, reached through the head to spin the display to face me. “I’m here. Who are you?”
“Kumar. I’m the manager at the Desiderata—”
“No,” I said.
He caught back his breath. “You don’t know what I was going to say.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re a casino and brothel. That’s out of my service area.”
“You have a service area?” He sounded puzzled rather than offended. “I thought you covered all of Georgina’s Town?”
“Except the casino and brothel. I told Guisy Oakmint so when he said he was going into business. I’m just one man and your joint is a crime magnet. Oakmint knows to clean up his own messes.” And for eleven years, he had.
Kumar shook his head. “That’s just it. It’s Mr. Oakmint. He’s dead.”
I paused. Took in a breath or two. I knew Guisy enough to share a drink here and there, although the last serious conversation we’d had was when he told me about his new joint venture. “Sorry, kid,” I told the manager. “But it’s still not my concern. Call in Doc Lowry. He deals with bodies.”
“Doc Lowry said you would be interested,” Kumar said quickly, as I reached for the kill switch.
I pulled back my hand. “Doc said that? Why?”
Kumar glanced over his shoulder, then said, “Mr. Oakmint was murdered and we’re pretty sure an undocumented human did it.”
I rubbed the back of my neck to hide my reaction as something fizzed and flared in my gut. “I’ll be there in fifteen,” I told Kumar.