Title: Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations 1)
Author: Angel Martinez
Publisher: MLR Press
Characters: Damien Hazelwood and Blaze Emerson
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Suspense, Futuristic
A search for missing children throws a misanthropic human GPS and an obnoxious human torch together in a struggle to survive dangerous conspiracies and each other.
Damien just wants to be left alone. Too bad his variant talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for the government’s missing person cases. He can refuse, but it’s not so easy when the missing are variant kids. Blaze Emerson is a sparker. People fear him as much for his ability to call fire as his obnoxious, violent temperament. He’s good at what he does, though, and he’s intrigued by the quiet man who can find people with his brain. Conspiracies, treachery, and wild rumors are only the start. First Damien and Blaze have to survive each other.
One of the reasons I love Ms Martinez’s stories is that, more often than not, they are as much about the characters and human nature as the romance. Her characters are flawed, yet lovable and fully rounded, and the mystery captures your imagination. The world building is amazing, and very believable. Plus, I almost always find myself laughing at some point.
This suspense filled story is set in a very possible future where neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and cerebral palsy have been stopped through the bonding of a carbon molecule with adenine in specific gene sequences. However, as often happens in science, there was an unexpected side effect. Variants. Children born with super-hero type abilities.
As you would expect of humanity, there are many different reactions to these “Variants”, as they are labeled. Hero worship. Misunderstanding. Anger. Greed. Fear. Bigotry.
Damian, a “locator”, has retreated as far from the world as possible in the hopes that he will be, if not left alone, then at least bothered as little as possible. A quirky character, he is nonetheless very likable and I could relate to him, and his internal struggles to cope, from the start.
Blaze, on the other hand, is a wild card who uses sarcasm and aggression to keep people away. But somehow, as I read the book, I found myself liking him, and cheering them both on.
I honestly couldn’t say what the best bit was, as there were quite a few great bits!
I REALLY recommend this story if you like detective stories, futuristic stories, or possible conspiracy theories.
Well done, Ms Martinez. I wish this book could go mainstream. It’s brilliant and deserves to be available to be read by those who haven’t discovered Indie publishing yet.
Oh, and if you enjoy this one, you’ll also love “Sub Zero” and “Prisoner 374215”. If you want something in a slightly lighter note from her, try “Canines, Crosshairs And Corpses” or “Hell For The Company”.
Reviewed By: Alison