by Jay Caselberg
Review by Chris Ferrier

Jack Stein, P.I., has a new client. Outreach Industries has just paid him a retainer with the promise of a larger payment in the future if he learns why the company's mining crew on the distant planet, Dairil III, mysteriously disappeared.

While Jack is a cynical loner often found in detective fiction, the P.I. stands for Psychic Investigator. Instead of physically traveling around the galaxy or even his local city interviewing suspects and looking for clues, he dreams. He uses a piece of rock from Dairil III as a physical prompt which guides his subconscious to the location of the mine. When he awakens, he analyses the dream images and symbols. One recurrent dream symbol is the Ouroboros, the serpent devouring its own tail.

The city where Jack lives is called the Locality. It's a self-supporting machine using nanotechnology to literally mine its way by millimeters per week across the landscape. The foreword end of the city has the newest, most expensive, living spaces, offices, and shops. Meanwhile, buildings at the opposite end are decaying as the microscopic building blocks breakdown and are recycled. This area is an urban jungle of abandoned buildings and criminal activity. Jack prefers the middle, but his case brings him into contact with individuals from both ends of the city. Caught in a tangle of deceitful suspects and betrayals, aided only by Billie, a twelve year old girl who know entirely too much, Jack doggedly presses on.

Wyrmhole is the first of a series. The characters are typical of noir detective fiction, but are well developed The fast pacing keeps the reader turning the pages. The science fictional elements aren't explored in detail, but are used to drive the plot and provide an exotic background.

Conclusion: Wyrmhole is an entertaining mystery taking place in a futuristic setting.

See Also James J Walton's revier of Wyrmhole.

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