In a futuristic world where virtual reality and biomodification are commonplace, Cassandra Tam, Cassie or Caz to her friends, is a private investigator willing to work any case. Late one night a woman comes to her door insisting that she look into the death of her brother, Eddie Redwood. While the cops have ruled this death a suicide, his sister Lori insists that something isn’t right. In Addict, the first book in the Cassie Tam Chronicles, Cassie delves into a world of virtual reality addicts and other tech users to find out just what happened.
The moment I began reading Addict I immediately connected with Cassie’s character. She reminded me of the gruff private investigators I used to watch in movies as a kid, yes I’ve been hooked on mysteries for a very long time. These characters were typically male and they would do their best to investigate any case, especially the ones people felt the police hadn’t investigated correctly. Beyond these older detectives, Cassie also has a Jessica Jones feel to her. When Lori Redwood arrives at her door she isn’t prepared for a client and instead is wearing what I would consider lounging around the house clothes and when pressed reveals that she has been drinking. Though she might not be at her prime in this moment she latches on to the case and with Lori’s help finds herself moving through the highest echelons of virtual reality programming as well as the lower addict levels full of secretive people.
While Addict uses science fiction it reads much like an old school detective novel, I would actually say it could be comparably compared to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the inspiration of the film Blade Runner. Outside of the mystery, Matt Doyle also examines Cassie’s personal life both by discussing her past with her family and her recent break-up with one of her current sources, Charlie. I loved how casually Doyle introduced the idea of Cassie as a queer woman, she does not state her identity officially which is why I am saying she’s queer. He uses that to help her relate to her current client and we see her slowly begin to open up after having closed herself off to a number of emotions. Addict is a quick and enjoyable read that will keep you guessing and even when you think you’ve figured it out be prepared for so much more. I look forward to seeing more of Cassie Tam in the future, but until then make sure to check out Addict today.
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