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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
Core Drift by FX Holden is a science fiction crime thriller. The setting is a future where humans coexist with cybers, beings that are half-human and half-robot. The main protagonist, named Fan Zhaofeng, is a cyber who appears to be responsible for a string of murders, even though his cyber programming prevents him from harming a human. The police know that so they allow him to remain free but the killings continue and more and more evidence piles up against Fan. Soon, he is forced to go on the run with the help of a sympathetic investigator. From there, Fan uses his superior intellect to avoid capture while trying to capture the real killer to clear his name.
The physical action in Core Drift is slow and methodical but intellectually, it moves like a roller coaster. The charm of this story comes from watching Fan work out in his mind who the real killer is, all the while staying three steps ahead of the justice system that is dead set on pinning the crimes on him. There is also a touching relationship between Fan and a female junior investigator who can’t help but be attracted to the genuine nature of Fan. Author FX Holden has done his homework in creating a fully developed world for his characters to exist in. The inner workings of Fan’s world, including the justice system and the history leading up to the time of the story, are complex yet fascinating. Core Drift is a slow burn of a story that builds its plot one mind-blowing brick at a time. The structure that it builds, in the end, is well worth the wait. Core Drift the novel is fully original, exciting, smart, and fun.