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."
—Fran Wilde, author of Updraft
"Delightful short story/novelette, a prequel to Swenson's The Ultra Thin Man.I love the futuristic noir tone, dashes of humor, good mystery (with aliens!) Fun, quick read."
—Louise Marley, author of The Child Goddess
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Swensonruns Fairwood Press, a book line, which began in 2000. A graduate of Clarion West, his first novel TheUltra Thin Man appeared from Tor. The sequel is The Ultra Big Sleep. He has sold stories to the anthology Unfettered III,Seasons Between Us,Like Water for Quarks, and a handful of magazines. He runs the Rainforest Writers Village retreat every spring at Lake Quinault, Washington. He's been a high school teacher for 35 years. He lives in Bonney Lake, Washington with his son Orion.