Heavy Metal Pulp: Money Shot: Netherworld Book Three
by Christopher Rowley
Review by Drew Bittner
Tor Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323903
Date: 09 November 2010 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Detective Rook Venner is nearing the end of a case--and maybe the end of his life, as well. Powerful political forces do not want a general's suicide unraveled, but Venner has gone too far to stop. Protecting a "pleasure mod" named Plesur, with help from a cybered dominatrix and a renegade pleasure-mod-turned gladiator, Venner better hope he solves this case before the bad guys finish them off once and for all.
In Money Shot: Netherworld Book 3, Christopher Rowley completes the key mystery of this cyberpunk trilogy. Venner and his friends have learned that the forces of Louisa Marion (a political powerhouse working to establish a new America) have a dirty secret code-named "Taste Imperative". But what does it mean? And why have they called out the US military to stop Venner at all cost?
Much of the first part of this novel is a run-and-gun race to avoid death-dealing robots, invisible commandos and killer drones. Venner and his group have help from two extended families, including a sanctuary for abused and dying mods, but even so, surviving a full-scale military assault is a daunting prospect.
Plesur unavoidably complicates the situation; as a pleasure mod built solely for sex, she's only intelligent with technological help. The bad guys are able to zone in on her implant, which makes her an unreliable asset in the field. Venner will not leave her behind, however, even though there's a ghost of Louisa Marion's brainwashing in his skull, urging him to kill Plesur and reap the rewards that go with it.
Meanwhile, the dominatrix Mistress Julia is facing a bizarre insurrection inside her own mind, as original personality Angie vies for control. Angie has fallen in love with David, the fourth member of their group, and will fight as hard as she must to remain herself--even over Mistress Julia's implant-fired will.
All they have to go on is a coordinate that Plesur is able to recall when cybered up. They have to survive long enough to reach the site, seemingly an abandoned aqueduct in the wilds of southern New York State. But that's only the beginning. Once there, the buried secrets of Louisa Marion are going to face them all head-on, and there will be nowhere to run.
Rowley has concluded his trilogy with a bang, writing some of the fastest-paced writing in the series. The opening chapters seem like a nonstop barrage of gunfighting, with ever-greater enemies thrown at them (with supporting characters who might as well wear red shirts), but the culmination of the story leads in some unexpected but entirely consistent directions. There is something truly unsettling about how things beneath the mountains are described and Rowley doesn't pull back from how creepy, cynical and outright horrifying Marion's handiwork really is.
Fans of full-bore cyberpunk and dystopian futures will enjoy this series, especially the way this volume wraps. Nothing is ever easy, no victory is ever free.