Murder mystery on the frontier (of space)
When I first started reading, it was a bit slow; though only because it was so information intense and fast-paced in trying to describe how this complex galactic corporation/government like entity controls known space. I would suggest maybe adding a preface to better educate the reader to help avoid the confusing information storm, but after that; wow! The narration style was captivating and descriptions of places and event were thorough and vivid. Once Harry disembarked the shuttle onto Magnum-4 the action took-off and I had a hard time not staying up all night to keep reading.
Read the story now
Harry, our protagonist, goes from a wimpy, Directorate flunky (and in his time's the equivalent of a paper-pusher) on a less than desirable business trip to bring back a high-ranking, wayward member Lydia Thompson to Earth Prime, to a frontier homicide detective. His initial job to bring back Lydia is immediately sidelined when he is greeted to the news that Lydia's lover, and Magnum-4 kingpin, Steve Somerset, has been murdered. On other planets this would not be seen as big news, but on Magnum-4, crime doesn't really exist; the people want or need for nothing, as long as they work. With a toxic atmosphere and Terra-forming only used under domes for mining and living, there is no place for prisoners. anyway. Those who break the rules are quickly eliminated, and the inhabitants of the planet are, for the most part, well behaved, model citizens in a wild-west-like space frontier.
Harry's job goes from inter-planetary errand boy to homicide detective when Lydia puts him on the case of figuring out who murdered Steve. In the end, Harry solves not only Steve's murder, but two others and discovers his true abilities and self.