Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.
She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.
Title: Division Zero (Division Zero #1)
Author: Matthew S. Cox
Genres: Cyberpunk, New Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: March 7, 2014
Kirsten Wren, a psionic, is an agent with Division Zero, a division of the police force whose members all have special gifts. Kirsten can communicate telepathically and send mind blasts to others, though she's hesitant to use that power. But what makes her an outcast - even among her law enforcement peers in other divisions - is her gift to not only see ghosts, but to communicate with them and kick their asses with a psychic whip, if need be. Imagine Indiana Jones's leather whip crossed with a light saber.
With a wretched mother who used religion as an excuse to abuse her as a young child, Kirsten is scarred and still trying to cope with her mother's abuse, though she hasn't had to suffer her mother's abuse for a long time, seeking refuge with Division Zero as a child, and training to become an agent.
The other lead character we get to know well is Kirsten's partner, Dorian Marsh. Though a charming fellow, I was confused by his lack of involvement, especially in scenes where his actions would have benefited Kirsten's welfare, until it hit me - long before I was supposed to know. It's an interesting "Dr. Malcolm Crow" kind of twist, and if you're reading fast and not catching the tiny details, you'll miss it and find out when the author reveals it.
The only thing that bothered me about the writing was the lack of dialogue tags that would reveal a character's emotion in the moment. For instance, in one scene, a big cop from another division is interrogating an AI known as a doll. He says something to her, but it isn't until the next paragraph, where she cringes from his yelling that the reader is aware that he was actually yelling at her. That kind of information sets the emotion of the scene, and should be revealed in the moment. It pulled me out of the story a few times, and I found it distracting.
However, I was completely fascinated with the world the author created. With his attention to detail and amazing descriptive scenes, I could easily imagine the hover cars, ad bots, holograms, droids, not to mention the manifestations, astral-projecting strings, and psychic whip. He did a fantastic job of breathing life to this cyberpunk world and it is obvious he did his research when it comes to police procedure. Attention readers, BOLO for Division Zero #2.
I'll end my review with my favorite quote from the novel. Dorian tells Kirsten,
"In the grand scheme of all things creepy, that doll rates two points below a knife-wielding clown."
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
About the Author
orn in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
He is also fond of cats.
Awards: Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future