Title: Maze-Born Trouble
Author: Ginn Hale
Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Length: 80 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Sci-Fi, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: Maze-Born Trouble is just one more example of why Ginn Hale remains a go-to author for me in the M/M genre.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A dead girl, a cop he can’t forget, and a price on his head. All on a space station at the edge of a black hole. Just another day’s work for P.I. Lake Harmaa.
P.I. Lake Harmaa escaped the darkness and intense gravity of Sisu Space Station’s Maze Sector by turning traitor and spying for the Feds during the war.
He has no intention of risking his neck by going back down into those depths, where there’s a price on his head and more than a few souls who wouldn’t mind him turning up dead.
But when he’s framed for a brutal murder, Lake realizes he must return to the Maze and settle old scores.
Review: If you’ve ever read Ginn Hale’s work, you’re already familiar with the author’s penchant for—not to mention proficiency at—building intricate alt worlds. Whether they be high fantasy or science fiction, both god and the devil are in the details, to shamelessly mix idioms, and that’s what makes Hale’s writing so impressive—even the minutest of aspects in the worlds she creates become an important, or, at a minimum, fascinating component in the story, in the way the characters are absorbed into and influence their surroundings. It’s some of the best story-crafting out there, and is the reason she’s consistently remained one of my go-to authors in the M/M genre over the years. Don’t believe me? Go read her Rifter series.
In Hale’s latest novella, Maze-Born Trouble, Lake Harmaa lives in a world that tweaked all my insectophobic tendencies—you’ll get that reference when you read the book—and at the same time left me in awe of the sheer creativity that went into layering and building his character into the framework of the setting. From his inception; to who he is when we meet him at his PI office; to the discovery of a murdered young woman—a crime for which Lake is being framed, and the investigation of which sends Lake into potentially hostile territory, not to mention coming face-to-face with his past—every detail is superbly woven into a plot that feels much richer than one might expect from an eighty page novella.
Lake’s past resurfaces in more than just his returning to the Maze and running headlong into danger. He also reconnects with the man he’d once been partnered with in Sisu Station’s Arc-level Police Department. While there is a romantic element to their story, one that had a real sentimental feel to it, the murder investigation and Lake’s returning to his roots to hunt down a killer and uncover the motives behind it make up the heart and soul of this novella. I loved not only the danger and suspense that went along with Lake’s search for answers, but that some of the scenes and the descriptions that went into their creation set my lizard brain to twitching. Every single morsel of imagery is just first rate, even if it did make my skin crawl a wee bit too, but that all goes along with great storytelling. There’s a synesthetic connection between the author’s words and the reader’s reaction to those words, and that sensory connection to Hale’s work isn’t an anomaly. It’s prevalent in her writing.
Maze-Born Trouble is loosely connected to Hale’s novella Feral Machines, which I read back February of 2011. To quote myself and my review of that story: “Drama, danger, humor, compassion, companionship, and love that overcomes adversity—I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Except for a sequel, maybe.” I didn’t get a sequel, per se, since these stories are independent of each other, but those words sum up my feelings pretty accurately about Maze-Born Trouble as well. So, so fantastic.
You can buy Maze-Born Trouble here: