Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Helen Once, Helen Twice, Helen Once Again by Robert Caryl
Science Fiction published April 4, 2015
Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Helen Anderson is certain she has no sisters, so the two women who look like her twins and share her DNA should not exist. And, they’ve been murdered – their bodies dumped in the small Outside nation of Texas, which in 2097 is a run-down backwater. The few thousand people still living there refused to join the Great Exodus of 2076 in which the bulk of the world population migrated into the portal-connected rooms and spaces called Inside. 

Shelby Darnell, the Texas Rangers’ only homicide detective, believes Helen innocent even as his nemesis, Insider detective Lt. Midori Yamamoto strives to thwart Darnell and convict the woman. More Helen look-alikes appear, most with someone else’s hand or foot. The only perfect “twin” is Athena Hendrik who is pursued by the Black Dragon Society, an Asian crime organization with a peculiar interest in the dead Helen look-alikes. Darnell’s own daughter, Darcy, goes to the top of his suspect list when evidence suggests she is one of the Dragons. 

The case takes Darnell from the “stacks” housing the Inside world to the drowned city of Venice, and to the ice-mining Temple of Gaia in the Antarctic. Everywhere, he encounters interference from anonymous police in powered armor who are bent on stealing the bodies of the murdered women before Darnell can examine them. Eventually, his investigation uncovers a world-shaking secret that he can handle only with the help of Athena, Helen and his daughter.
My Thoughts...
I really enjoyed this book!  It's a beast at 650+ pages long, but really the story is so fast paced I was able to finish it more quickly that I expected to.  This is a science fiction story set in 2097 in a world where most of the population lives "Inside".  Shelby Darnell is a Texas Ranger who lives "Outside".  When a woman is found dead essentially on his doorstep he gets pulled into an investigation that will literally take him across the globe via portals that connect the "Inside".

So basically the Inside is a massive series of what amounts to interconnected rooms, buildings, etc...that are connected by doorway portals.  Someone has discovered spatial "folding" technology or something to that effect. So instead to travelling via car, plane or the like you enter your destination into a panel at a portal doorway and when you step through you are wherever you want to be.  Houses work in the same way, each room is connected by a portal.  Essentially, each room in your home could be located in a different part of the world, but they are connected by these portals.  It's a very unique, at least to me, concept for the world that has been built in this story.  The Outside is a rundown version of our world that has is still inhabitable, but at this point in time the majority of the population now lives Inside.

The gist of the story is that women are showing up dead after they are dumped through one of the portals.  The odd thing is that they all look alike.  Shelby is the person who discovers the first body and as he investigates the cause of her death he is pulled into a web of deceit and intrigue.  This whole story is full of plot twists, fast paced action and more future tech than you can imagine.  The characters are well developed and you can't read fast enough to discover what will happen next. 

It's really hard to describe this story properly, but I enjoyed every minute of it and I know that it's the start of a series so I know that I will be picking up the rest of them.  If you enjoy a unique science fiction premise then you will want to give this one a read for sure.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.*

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