Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.
But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.
To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.
A captain, a crew and their beloved ship, all having some splendid adventures in deep space, pursued by a variety of evil types and a mysterious corporation. Throw in a smattering of cursing in a different language. There are some strong Firefly vibes going on in this delightful space opera romp.
Oh, and psychic cats.
Chilling Effect is, in short, a lot of fun. I loved the characters and their snappy banter. I loved the big scale adventures, even if they felt a little too episodic at times. The stakes are big, the baddies are suitably bad, but maybe the peril doesn’t feel quite perilous enough as our heroes find themselves bouncing out of danger and onto the next shenanigan, which is handily just around the corner.
If you’re looking for some hard-SF ‘serious’ space opera, then look elsewhere. But if you’re looking to spend some time in the company of a bunch of rogues and misfits, playing spot the influences, then Chilling Effect might just be the book you’re looking for.
Good fun. Looking forward to the next adventure of Captain Innocente and La Sirena Negra!
Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes is published by Orbit Books. Many thanks to Nazia at Orbit for the review copy.