By Stephen B. Bagley
Hunting the Corrigan's Blood by Holly Lisle starts with Cadence, the heroine, waking up in a locker with dead woman. Things go down for her from there. Cadence and her partner Badger recover lost or stolen items for their owners after the authorities have given up, and they've been given the task of recovering the Corrigan's Blood, a star ship with extraordinary properties. Unfortunately, the ship is at the center of several dangerous conspiracies, and Cadence finds herself running from planet to planet in a desperate attempt to survive.
The plot twists and turns, and just when the course of the book seems clear, Holly Lisle throws in a huge surprise. I'm not often surprised by an author, but this one raised my eyebrows. Naturally, it's not a pleasant surprise for Cadence; in fact, her job has revealed a terrible danger for the entire galaxy.
Cadence is an appealing character. She's hard-nosed, holds definite opinions about life, makes mistakes, has a true sense of justice, knows the meaning of regret and love, and has enough heart to temper all her actions with mercy. Above all, she's not a superwoman; she's so human that it hurts to read about her losses.
Don't think, however, this is a romp through space. I don't know if there is a category for "dark science fiction" like there is for dark fantasy, but this book definitely would belong in DSF. Cadence confronts terrible things. How she deals with what she finds makes for an intriguing and fast-paced read. I was sorry when the book ended.