Blue Limbo
Terence M. Green
Review by James Walton

This one is more a near future cop thriller than Science Fiction. Very little of society has changed. People get old and die in so many years and cry about the same things. Drug related crimes are common place and the criminals have better weaponry than the police. The only difference is the weapons are laser pistols and cannons instead of 9 mm automatics. A coherent beam of light leaves no individual identification marks for the coroner to trace to an assailant, so murder investigations are nightmares.

Mitch Helwig is a "good" cop on the Toronto police force. He is frustrated by the laws he must obey while criminal activity rises and bad cops look the other way. But he is not above performing "black" operations, bombing criminal hideouts and killing bad guys.

Helwig is a stereotypical cop, making his job paramount and ignoring his family until it is too late. (His wife has an affair of sorts, but she was lonely.) The resultant separation leaves him emotionally wrecked.

But Helwig is also a dumb cop. After doing things designed to upset Toronto's criminal element, Helwig does nothing to protect himself or his loved ones. He never uses the professional paranoia a policeman must cultivate to stay alive. When a bomb meant for him kills two semi-innocents, Helwig and his partner are surprised, but they don't wise up. Helwig continues to travel blithely back and forth between his father and his daughter with nary a glance over his shoulder. The partner is foolish enough to answer his front door in the middle of the night without first looking through the peephole. No one wises up until the body count is much higher that it needed to be.

Of course, if it weren't for the rampant stupidity, there would be no reason to use Blue Limbo.

Blue Limbo is a method of bringing people back from the dead. Sort of. When someone dies, as long as the body is in good shape, future scientists are able to surgically implant a chip into the deceased's brain, allowing communication with the dead. The term Blue Limbo comes from descriptions of what the dead people see. They perceive only a large blue wall or screen.

The Blue Limbo technique, although experimental, proves useful solving murders. If a murder victim sees his killer, he can give a description. The bad guys are too dumb to realize that they should only shoot people in the back, never face to face.

This leads us to a high tech showdown, which would not have happened had Helwig and company been smarter.

If Green had given us smarter characters, Blue Limbo would have been a much different, better book. As it is Blue Limbo is a slightly substandard police thriller with a few Science Fictional elements. According to the blurb on the book cover Mr. Green has written several books in different genres. Perhaps he should stick with one or the other?

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