Book Review: The Electric Church

The Electric Church (Avery Cates, #1)The Electric Church by Jeff Somers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got 99 problems, but a corrupt police force bent on my death and a cybernetic church hijacking citizens for conversion ain’t one…unlike the protagonist of “The Electric Church.” Avery Cates, a hitman in a corrupt, police-state version of future New York, begins the novel by assassinating an under-cover cop. This is unfortunate for Avery on two levels; 1) she wasn’t the target, and 2) the entire weight of the System Police is about to come falling down on him. This is the kind of attention that Avery definitely doesn’t need.

Already on the run from the System Police, Avery runs afoul of the second power dominating his landscape: the Electric Church. Fastest growing religion in the world, the Electric Church promises immortality to its members…immortality gained by plugging your brain into a robot body. The Church states that it comes by its converts willingly; unsurprisingly, Avery learns that “willingly” equals “we kill people and steal their brains.”

So what’s a hitman to do when the two biggest forces on the planet are gunning for you? Try to take them both down at once, of course.

Which, I have to be honest, is where I started to lose interest in this book. I loved Avery Cates in the beginning; he was honest, dry, funny, a little noir-detective-esque, all things I enjoy in a main character. I enjoyed the author’s world-building and the concept of the Electric Church. But there isn’t a lot that was new or surprising, especially to well-read science fiction junkies. I had most of the plot twists figured out way in advance, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed that Avery wasn’t catching up. Sometimes he just seemed a little…dim.

An enjoyable read, but it didn’t knock my socks off. This is the first book in a series, so maybe Jeff Somers will come up with something a little less formulaic in the next book.

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