Darrell Pitt, A Toaster on Mars, Text Publishing, 30 May 2016, 288pp., $19.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781922182869
The year is 2509 and Blake Carter is still drinking too much. Even though he is the best detective working for the Planetary Bureau of Investigation (the PBI), his refusal to work with a partner has finally caught up with him. Divorced, taken off the most pressing criminal case earth has ever confronted, refused the right to chase master criminal Bartholomew Badde, informed that his twelve year old daughter, Lisa, is possibly missing, and now forced to accept the shapely cyborg Nicki Steel as his partner, Blake Carter has a good book’s worth of personal problems to negotiate while he attempts to save planet earth from a millennium of darkness if Bartholomew Badde’s bomb goes off. He is a cop who has lost his ideals. But he hasn’t lost his sardonic sense of humor, or his optimism about his abilities.
This novel crackles with wit and violence. The goodies and baddies, and the human and non-human are unmistakable, though it is surprising who comes out of this futuristic thriller as likeable. Darrell Pitt writes with a relaxed confidence that a new impossible situation is just around the corner, and that it will be an opportunity for a swag of jokes and gags. The fun doesn’t let up. Whether Blake Carter saves the planet and rescues his daughter and reconciles to being partnered with a cyborg and rounds up Bartholomew Badde are almost not at all the point here. But if you need to know, you will need to keep reading to the very end. Recommended for readers 9 to 19 years.
Reviewed by Kevin Brophy