The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Vol 1, Issue #5
"Stand By For Mars!"
May 2006

Fiction Book Reviews
by Caroline Miniscule

Meter Made
by M. D. Benoit
Zumaya Publications

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Caroline Miniscule has traveled around the world. She now stays in one place and reads science fiction. She is a graduate of D'Illyria University: the University of the Mind.

"My building is gone, Mr. Meter. I want you to get it back."

The short, balding man in the gray pinstripe suit wrung his hands and waited. I tried not to groan while I thought of a way to let him down gently. I was a private investigator not a repo man.

I glanced at Peter Winston, the lawyer who shared the house where I had my office, and who was also my landlord and friend. He leaned against the doorjamb pulling on his stogie and filling the room with blue smoke. He grinned then shrugged.

"I'll let you two gentlemen sort this out," he said. He closed the door softly behind him, leaving a pile of cigar ashes on the floor.

Lambert Garner is an unlikely-looking millionaire. He "looks like a rummy," but he's actually the owner of Garner Properties, Inc., which owns several buildings. And one of them's gone missing. It's not that it's gone and the land which it occupied is still there...both it and the land are gone, and its adjacent buildings are now right next to each other.

Private investigator Jack Meter is not unused to such bizarre cases...just recently, at any rate. He's got an alien device in his wrist he calls a telecarb, which he can use to transport himself to different places...different planets. He's been on alien planets.

As he begins he meets a rival, an Intergalactic Agent, Neola Durvin, who also has that capability, although her transporter is an external device called a Universal System Integrator. (Benoit explains it all plausibly).

The two of them are investigating the same case..or at least the circumstances behind it. Someone, or something, is stealing material from one universe...and putting it somewhere else.

It turns out Jack Meter's own past actions (detailed in Metered Space) have brought about this possible destruction of the universe, and he must use all of his skills as he faces not only deadly aliens...but also...deadly humans...and his own deadly double.

Author M. D. Benoit writes with a sure hand, weaving plausible worlds together with ease. Jack Meter is an engaging character, with a sense of humor and a whole lot of problems, and he engages our sympathy from page one.

Meter Made is the second in the series featuring Meter, and Benoit cleverly does not give us a precis of exactly what happened in the first installment, Metered Space. Instead Meter mentions past incidets matter-of-factedly, so in addition to the mystery one keeps reading in the hopes of finding out more details about Meter's life. How did he get that "technocarb" device inserted into his wrist, who are the Thrittene he keeps mentioning, how did he meet them, and what happened to characters "Annie," and "Mueller." Benoit gives us hints throughout the book, as for example:

Terry was the only one, apart from Claire, who was aware of everything that had happened. He knew the real story behind Mueller, who'd been stealing, blowing up buildings and killing humans and aliens alike so he could build himself a universal soldier that just happened to look like my Annie. In the process, that sonofabitch had almost destroyed the universe, which is a lot bigger and weirder than anyone could imagine, and had unwittingly forced me to live with a piece of alien matter melded to my arm.

But Benoit doesn't fill in all of the gaps, and we really want to know exactly how all this came about!

Solution to the mystery: get Metered Space too!

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