A man is found murdered and brutally impaled near the Seattle waterfront, and during the investigation, private detectives Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos come face to face with an alien drug known as RuBy. It’s a dangerous prototype that’s bound to cause problems for the eight worlds of the Union. The murder case itself would be easy enough to solve—that is, if the suspects weren’t already dead, and the Seattle Authority cop sharing the case wasn’t Crowell’s disgruntled ex-partner.
A prequel to The Ultra Thin Man, this novelette features Crowell and Brindos before their Network Intelligence Organization contract, scraping out a living in a city—and on a world—the Union is quickly forgetting.
“A richly realized near-future noir tale . . . a potent cocktail of genre homage: equal parts bodies murdered and missing, corporate intrigue and synth-drug addiction, and finished with a dash of aliens and interstellar politics, and a twist of corruption.”
—Stephen Susco, writer of The Grudge and Flatliners
"A tempting glimpse at the mysterious, dark underbelly of a human and alien conspiracy. A dangerous and compelling story."