10.07.2018 / Titan Books / Crime-Mystery / Paperback / 224pp / 978-1783296897
Target Audience: Readers who enjoy unique perspectives and creative crime stories. Those who would appreciate a science-fiction murder mystery set in a re-imagining of 1960s California.
About I Only Killed Him Once
Another Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling discovery―one he soon forgets when his 24-hour memory tape loops to the end and is replaced with a fresh reel…
Time is running out for Ray and Ada, and if Ray and Ada want to survive their enemies, they need to do exactly what the man in the black hat says. A man that Raymond Electromatic has already killed.
Adam Christopher’s I Only Killed Him Once is a fantastic conclusion to his 60s inspired SF/Mystery series centred around robot detective (turned killer) Raymond Electromatic. I am sad to see the LA Trilogy finished but Christopher has given his robotic protagonist a fitting send-off. I Only Killed Him Once is an incredibly inventive, dynamic and memorable SF thriller that traps readers with its charm and keeps them engrossed with high stakes narratives and a unique and well fleshed out central character. Raymond Electromatic is ‘a product of electronic wizardry and mechanical genius’ and it is Adam Christopher that has brought him to life in a superb way.
After a successful contract hit against a federal agent, Raymond Electromatic returns to his alcove at the agency for a well earned rest. When his memory resets, he won’t remember a single detail of man he just killed. When the same man walks into his office the following day to bring him a warning of impending trouble, Raymond must follow clues he has left for himself to discover who the man is and find those who mean him, and his supercomputer boss Ada, serious harm. Soon Raymond finds himself in trouble and trapped in a loop. The only way he can free himself and Ada is to go back to his roots and face the past that has been hiding in the shadows.
What a finale this was. I am glad Adam Christopher went bolder, faster-paced and cranked up the mystery this time around as it made it even more immensely satisfying to experience Raymond’s escapades. I have enjoyed AC’s descriptive and witty writing every step of the way. Each aspect and detail of the book is well crafted, expertly fleshed out and definitely entertaining. From clever reminders of Raymond’s robotic presence and Ada’s ghostly-code-in-machine human guidance to the secrecy of the the mysterious man in the black hat, the quality 60’s Hollywood aesthetic and the hidden agenda that slowly shows itself over the course of the narrative. Adam Christopher is obviously passionate about his series and he went all out for the finale act.
I Only Killed Him Once made it hard for me to trust anyone more than ever within these pages. Each character comes across as friendly and devious at the same time and it was difficult to choose someone other than Raymond to invest in. My favourite element of this series has to be Raymond’s memory limitations, they really jumble up the narrative and leave the reader to pick up the pieces and catch any drift they can. Raymond has to rely on his past self and whatever clips of data that have been left in his robotic mind to get ahead of those out to get him and it is fun to watch him fend off trouble. AC also chose to explore some interesting themes this time around including Robophobia and the ramifications of both the presence of robots and humans on planet earth in the future which was a nice touch.
Overall I Only Killed Him Once and the rest of this series are highly recommended from me. Unique, enjoyable, charming and mysterious, all sorts of readers can invest in this series and have a great time. I am sad to see the series finished but I am also excited to see where Adam Christopher takes his work next. Maybe we will see a Raymond Electromatic cameo or easter-egg in his upcoming work someday. Hint Hint 😀
About Adam Christopher
Adam Christopher is a novelist, comic writer, and award-winning editor. Adam is the author of The Burning Dark and the LA Trilogy, as well as co-writer of The Shield for Dark Circle Comics. His debut novel, Empire State, was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year and a Financial Times Book of the Year for 2012. Born in New Zealand, he has lived in Great Britain since 2006.