Leader of the Los Angeles street gang Los Magos is assassinated by the rival El Diablos. As members of the Five Families, war between the two gangs could ignite the whole city, prompting a response from the Chronosoft Law Enforcement Division (CLED) that could destroy all the families. Artemis Bridge, the amoral fixer with the quick wit vows to stay out of the war despite his friendship with ex-footballer turned gangland revolutionary Stonewall, new leader of Los Magos. Bridge is reluctantly pulled into the middle of the worst civil unrest since the 2027 riots, where he discovers the war is more than a little tribal bloodletting between rivals. This fast-paced, action-packed cyberpunk thriller is the third in the critically acclaimed Bridge Chronicles series, sequel to Under the Amoral Bridge and The Know Circuit.
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"He ain't no saint ... We ain't no charity"
When I first received a complimentary copy of If(tribe)= to review, via Audiobook Boom, it was suggested to me that, if I had not already done so, it would be wise to read the earlier books in the series to fully gain the flavour the world in which this is set and the characters involved. So I purchased book one, Under the Amoral Bridge, listened and thoroughly enjoyed it (see my reviews for this and book two, The Know Circuit). So glad I did. I came to this story set in 2029 (where corporations have the political power, including policing, and also hold the financial purse strings in an otherwise bankrupt country) with an awareness of Bridge, the main protagonist, his loyalties and loves, and his ongoing relationship with the gang leader friend Stonewall and his philosopher bodyguard, Aristotle. All were, therefore, already living, three dimensional beings by the time i started on tbis book.
And what a fun book it is. Bridge retains his characteristic sarcastic wit despite the many life threatening situations in which he and his friends find themselves. But this time he is driven by more than self protection and expectation of financial gain. This time the fate of the five families and his whole way of life is at risk. But if he can also make some money from it - well, he is Bridge, the bridge, the fixer ...
The story is a glorious romp of explosions, fighting, verbal repartee, double dealings and even some techno magic. And Bridge's trademark iingenious solutions. He's not a conventionally nice man by any means but lovable? Oh, yes. Joe Hempel captures all of this to perfection. Evenly paced narration with distinctive individual voices in dialogue, he simply is Bridge, the man who "knows a guy" for any situation.
This book can be read/heard as a stand alone. There is sufficient background material worked into the story to make it comprehensible and enjoyable. But for the full immersion iinto the who, why and all round pleasure, start at the beginning with book one. A real treat for every fan of superfast action and ideas, with terrific characters acting on unexpected ideas in a good versus bad scenario (though sometimes it can be hard to tell which is which!). Brilliant.
- Norma Miles