Just finished The Last Campaign, the second book in Martin L. Shoemaker‘s Near-Earth Mystery series. I read the first book, The Last Dance, last year. Since I wasn’t sharing each book I was reading then, I thought I would cover them both here.
I picked the first book because it was based around an idea popularized by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. That idea was an Earth-Mars Cycler that would be a dramatically less expensive way to move between the two planets.
The two stories are an enjoyable blend of mystery and science. Character development and plot are not bad, but pieces of each were developed as short stories so the flow can be a bit uneven. Despite the flaws, an ok read if you like the genre.
The Last Dance
By Martin L. Shoemaker
At the heart of a mystery unfolding in space, the opposing forces make a treacherous journey between Earth and Mars.
In space, mutiny means death—that’s why Inspector General Park Yerim is taking her investigation so seriously. The alleged mutineer is Captain Nicolau Aames, whose command of the massive Earth-Mars vessel Aldrin has come under fire. The vast System Initiative says he disobeyed orders, but his crew swears he’s in the right.
En route to Mars, Park gathers testimony from the Aldrin’s diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself in the thrall of powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a fiery cosmic dance.
Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for the Aldrin and the future of space travel.
Published November 1, 2019
456 pages (print)
The Last Campaign
By Martin L. Shoemaker
A colony on Mars becomes home to a killer conspiracy in a Near-Earth Mystery by the award-winning author of The Last Dance.
Brazilian investigator Rosalia Morais, and her husband, revered American spacer Nicolau Aames, are building a life together in Mars’s Maxwell City, the fastest-growing settlement on the planet. Good news: there are no natural predators. Bad news: there are humans. That means the crime rate is growing, too.
To ensure public safety, Rosie’s appointed by the mayor as the Red Planet’s first chief of police. No sooner does she build a law enforcement squad than the biggest challenge looks to be internal. Policing the police for graft and corruption is one thing. But when an industrialist is found among the chars of an arson, it’s murder.
The fire leads to questions that can be answered by only one man—Nick’s former officer on the Earth-to-Mars vessel the Aldrin. And Nick is still duty bound to keep the officer’s secrets. As loyalties shift, trust breaks, and the tide of a political conspiracy rises, Rosie must solve a mystery that could doom the future of humanity on Mars.
Published October 6, 2020
318 pages (print)