4 out of 4 stars
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Vivian Wexler, a successful but young private detective from Earth, is surprised and honored to receive a special request from the prime minister of the planet of Soralole to help solve a mystery. The Soraloles are a humanlike race of beings who are peaceful and never kill, not even animals. Yet the last two years have brought a rash of suicides among the race for the first time in history. Because there are typically no conflicts on the planet, Soralole has no police officers or detectives of their own to investigate the situation.
With her keen insight and the help of Douglas “Dee” Dunbar, an old childhood flame she meets along the way, Vivian quickly cracks the case and saves the planet of Soralole. In gratitude, the prime minister recommends her for a training position as a Galactic Agent with the Confederation of Planets. Now Vivian’s work will really be cut out for her. Will she be able to make it as a Galactic Agent and balance her newly rekindled romance at the same time? She is also still suffering lingering effects of an infection she caught while saving Soralole. She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to shake it off or whether she even wants to. And what’s going on with her strange new addiction to coffee?
Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery by Patricia Crumpler is an exciting sci-fi thriller with a dash of romance. The book is told from the 3rd person point of view of Vivian, an intelligent and strong-willed protagonist. She is a fun lead to follow along with, as she is quick-witted and able to appreciate the humor in the situations she is thrown into. She has a lot of depth and faces internal struggles along the way, making her feel very realistic.
The worldbuilding in this novel is fantastic. A variety of planets, alien races, and technologies are described in detail and are very believable. I also liked the author’s explanations of the different types of space travel, including matter transfer, where your atoms separate, travel independently at a pace faster than the speed of light, and reassemble at the final destination. Some parts of the future are very advanced, while some things never change, such as humans’ love for coffee and chocolate. These luxuries have now been well-received galaxy-wide through trade.
Although this book contains a lot of action, I really liked that it takes time to tackle important issues and provide commentaries of the state of our world. In the book, Earth has not been admitted to the Confederation of Planets because humans are too warlike. The Con-Plan Tribunal’s position is that if Earthlings have not been able to cease from fighting with each other for even a day across the planet’s history, there is no way they can be trusted to maintain peaceful relationships with other intergalactic species. The book addresses bigotry, as Vivian must struggle to overcome her own prejudices in building positive relationships in her role as a Galactic Agent. The book also deals with the topic of addiction, as it ponders whether it is always bad, even in cases where its results are positive.
There is very little I can find to critique about this novel. I would have liked to see a more developed romance between Vivian and Dee. The timeline felt rushed and the feelings unrealistic. I also felt like the title of the novel didn’t do the book justice. Death and Disorder is such a bland title for such a unique book. That said, these minor quibbles did not interfere one bit with my overall enjoyment of the story. With interesting characters, settings, and themes, I thought it was a top-notch novel. The editing was excellent, as I did not find a single error throughout the book. I happily rate it 4 out of 4 stars, and I would love to see a sequel in the future. Star Wars fans, or any lovers of futuristic sci-fi novels, will love this book.
Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery
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