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“The Wages of Sin” by Zoë Sumra

WoS cover

I thought “Sailor to a Siren” was an interesting mix of gangland thriller and science fiction novel (with a small amount of fantasy thrown in). This book picks up a few years after Sailor to a Siren, focusing on Connor Cardwain whose status has risen in the intervening years and is now in charge of a large and lucrative business with both criminal and legitimate sides.

This book introduces a new genre to the series - the story is a murder mystery with Connor investigating the brutal death of one of his employees in a locked room nobody else had entered. The investigation quickly spirals out of control as Connor comes to realise he is a pawn in the middle of a much bigger game and faces loses everything he has built. However, he isn’t a character who would ever be content to be a mere pawn.

There are a lot of different factions in this story where everyone has their own agenda, including Connor himself who always seems to have several schemes going on. The sheer number of different characters can start to feel slightly intimidating at times, but they do all have a motivation that makes sense from their perspective (even if it is initially well concealed). Connor is an interesting protagonist, capable of being extremely ruthless and committing just about any crime, but also very loyal towards his friends and employees and capable of more compassion that might be expected from someone in his line of work.

I thought this book had a more ambitious plot than Sailor to a Siren, although the pacing does perhaps suffer a bit because of the increased complexity. The pacing of the story was a bit slow to begin with as the large cast of characters were introduced, but it does pick up once the plot starts in earnest and the story becomes more compelling as it goes along. Halfway through the book I was struggling to see how the different story strands connected together but by the end it has been brought together into a neat conclusion.

I think I preferred the first book in the series overall, but this was still a good mix of murder mystery and science fiction.

Rating : 7 / 10