Empire City is a futuristic metropolis ruled by a mix mutant populace which includes biological, robotic, alien, and mutated inhabitants. Technology powers progression, enhances efficiencies, and dilutes the humanist aspects to inner city living. The foundation piece for THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE, Empire City has an aura that compliments the protagonist as he smashes his way through villainy towards his objective. The safe return of a kidnapped biological family – the only beings he can call friends in his two year existence.
Mack Megaton, a seven foot robot cab driver with free will (an anomaly of his programming) watches as his neighbours are kidnapped in front of him. A four armed mutant is responsible, having used a teleportation device to whisk the family off into the ether; he vanishes, leaving a handful of angry underworld figures and one determined ‘bot in his wake. Mack doesn’t take to this sudden disappearance. Ignoring all reasoning, he sets out to locate the missing family at any cost – even at the expense of Empire City itself.
He has a few helpers along the way in the devilish beautiful and dangerously smart Lucia Napier, a 22yro genius, Doctor Mujahid, Mack’s shrink, and Jung, a fellow cabdriver and ape. It’s an odd mix that works very well. Not only do these characters have their own distinct roles to play but they also add an element of humanity to the protagonist.
From government conspiracies, alien invasion, mad scientists, and robotic technology to hardboiled detective gumption – THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE has it all. Author A. Lee Martinez has crafted a deftly good tale encompassing the futuristic world of sci-fi, the dark and dangerous alleyways of noir and hardboiled exploits of a unique and engrossing detective.
THE AUTOMATIC DETECTIVE is Mack’s first case and judging from what I’ve read about A. Lee Martinez, it looks to be the last we’ll see of him as the author isn’t big on ‘series’ books. That said I’m hoping readers get to see more of Mack at some stage.