In The Void,
Timothy S. Johnston has cemented himself as the current master of the scifi dark
There is a little of Agatha Christie, a little of Isaac Asimov,
and more than a little of John Campbell, but with all due respect to those
luminaries, Johnston has his own voice that in some ways transcends them.
Johnston writes a taught, fast-moving, and
claustrophobic story that pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go.
This is the third book
in the Kyle Tanner series, and while the book is fine as a stand-alone, I would
recommend reading them in order.
For me, the most satisfying aspect of the series was to
read as Tanner evolves from the “yes, sir, no, sir” duty-bound investigator to
the man who while still performing his duty, begins to question his place in the
grand scheme of things.
I wish Johnston had spent more time showing us the
reasons for this other than mentioning “conversations with dissidents,” but even
from inference, this was a great aspect of the entire three-book storyline.
As with the other two
books, Tanner has to unravel a murder mystery while isolated from most outside
help--although this time, he has his lover Shaheen with him, and she is a great
benefit to his investigation.
To make matters more difficult, the “murder” may or may
not be a murder.
There is no tangible evidence that the deceased was in fact
Tanner was only on the scene due to a breakdown on his ship while
transporting a brutal murderer to face justice in another system when he is
drawn into the situation, one that hides much more than a mere murder.
As in the other two
books, Tanner is attacked more than once and faces obstacles thrown his way at
I have to point out that the attack making use of gravity was one
of the most unique methods of attempted murder I have ever read, and one I
enjoyed reading about very much.
I was able to figure
out most of the whodunit before the reveals, but not totally.
Johnston was able to level a few surprises that caught
The ultimate end may have been expected, but that didn’t make it
any less satisfying.
In a way, the ending was like welcoming an old friend,
someone I was expecting with anticipation and happy when he arrived.
As always, Johnston
has done significant research in the science in scifi.
Most of the science rings true, especially in the field
This is scifi, however, and so there are some jumps that are
beyond modern understanding, but the scientific foundations of those jumps are
We don’t know if the advancements will ever be possible, but they are
certainly plausible based on our modern grasp of science.
I am sad that this
book evidently closes the story of Kyle Tanner.
I enjoyed all three books, and I look forward to reading
the next series and discovering where it will take us.