In honor of this wonderful novel’s Hugo nomination, and in preparation for the June release of the second book in The Expanse series Caliban’s War, here is the review I did for Leviathan Wakes in May of 2011 for you taker kids:
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (the pen name of the ubiquitous Daniel Abraham and George R.R. Martin’s assistant, Ty Franck) is an engaging by-the-seat-of-your-pants space opera, replete with noir grit, excellently realized futurescapes, and “vomit zombies.”
On the other side of this is Abraham’s Joe Miller. A detective on Ceres Station in the Belt. A noirish cynic. The guy who’s seen it all and buried it at the bottom of a whiskey glass. Though he works for a security company owned by an Earth corporation, Miller is a Belter by birth and distrustful of anyone who’s ever seen a sky or not had their water and their air pumped in from outside. Yet, what makes Miller a good detective is his ability to detach himself when necessary, to notice the facts, regardless of personal sentiment. As Abraham notes, “When Miller started working homicide, one of the things that had struck him was the surreal calm of the victims’ families. People who had just lost wives, husbands, children, and lovers. People whose lives had just been branded by violence. More often that not, they were calmly offering drinks and answering questions, making the detectives feel welcome…A month earlier Miller…had been the steadying hand of the law. Now they were employees of an Earth-based security contractor. The difference was subtle, but it was deep.”
Holden’s and Miller’s worlds collide when the Canterbury picks up a distress signal from a derelict ship – the Scopuli - and responds, to discover the horror that’s happened to its crew. As Holden transmits data that ignites an already tense situation between the Belt and Mars, Miller is assigned the job of searching for the missing Julie Mao. The link: Mao was one of the crew on the Scopuli.