Killing is My Business, Adam Christopher

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

Fans of MADE TO KILL will already know all about Ray Electromatic, Ada and his line of work.  Set in the 1950s, KILLING IS MY BUSINESS is the second in the trilogy based around Ray Electromatic. Part crime fiction, part science fiction, Ray is a robot, Ada is his controlling computer, and together their business, is killing. The first novel MADE TO KILL readers were introduced to Ray, the last robot in America, who covers his hired assassin persona with a day job as a private detective.

The trick here is that Ada wipes Ray's memory (? banks) every night so and must therefore be reminded every day by Ada of ... well everything. In the first novel that was an interesting idea, a way of perhaps turning a robotic assassin into something more robotic, with no chance whatsoever to question his allocated profession. By the second novel, not only does it wear a bit thin as an idea, it's not nearly as well executed and there are more than a few "well how would he know that" moments - enough to make you think that the wiping appears to be opportunistically selective at least.

KILLING IS MY BUSINESS also has a convoluted idea at the centre of the plot - after a couple of hits go wrong, Ray takes on a job getting close to a mafia boss to learn his secrets before then killing him. Leaving aside the whole idea of Ray not knowing what he'd already gleaned if his memory was constantly being wiped, there's the question of why a mafia boss would get that close to a random private detective robot in the first place. Needless to say for a lot of this novel to work you're going to have to pack up those niggles and file them under "silly fun".

Having said that, for this reader the first novel was great fun, this one considerably less so. There's nothing wrong with the writing, nor the mismash of genre's. The fifties feel is spot on, the voices of the character perfect. It's just that the central pillars seem to be tilting.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective: the stand alone sequel to Made to Kill

Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape for intrepid PI-turned-hitman--and last robot left in working order-- Raymond Electromatic. When his comrade-in-electronic-arms, Ada, assigns a new morning roster of clientele, Ray heads out into the LA sun, only to find that his skills might be a bit rustier than he expected....

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