Written by: David Pedreira
Published by: Harper Voyager an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Reviewed by Mark Malcolm
Caden Dechert is a man running from his past and found a convenient niche on the moon. His Marine Corps background serves him well as the station chief trying to keep his crew alive and meet quote mining helium-3 at the same time, except someone doesn’t want him succeeding at either. When one of his crew is killed in an event that is anything but an accident, Dechert gets embroiled in a situation that threatens to rapidly spiral out of control. Now, not only is the moon trying to kill him and his crew, but potentially everyone else around him could be too as he tries to solve the moon’s first murder and prevent a war from starting at the same time.
David Pedreira creates a very believable, world set apart from our home here on Earth. The moon becomes a living, breathing, real place under his pen. The depth of his knowledge and research on the topography and place-names becomes the mortar that holds the bricks of his story together nicely. Familiar names like Apollo, Mare Imbrium, and Peary Crater tie the story in well with images we know of the moon today.
The structure of the story is well-made. The voice too is solid and consistent throughout. The coupling of these two features makes this novel easy to read with the pages turning quickly as you are immersed in a group of characters that are presented by the author in a clear vision of who they are, what they know, and how they react.
While I very much enjoyed the read and I recommend Gunpowder Moon to anyone looking for an intriguing whodunit, there are a few points that detract from the tale. The plot was fairly predictable with only a few surprises (including who did do it). Additionally, there were a few points where some veiled political, ideological, and religious statements came out in the prose that could have been either left out or presented in another fashion. This will only be a problem for readers who disagree with politics/ideology of the author. While the views are neither integral to the story nor recurring to become overly distracting, they are there nonetheless and only mildly detracted from my enjoyment of the tale.
Gunpowder Moon is a good story that reads easily. If you are looking to get in on the ground floor of a new author, I recommend reading David Pedreira’s first offering. If you are an Apollo or moon aficionado, this book offers a new way to experience the logical progression of where we are today and where we might be tomorrow. You won’t be disappointed with the time spent reading this one.