Gumshoes of the Galaxy: Cops and Private Eyes in Science Fiction

Richard K. Morgan

"In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or 'sleeve') making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . ."

Eric Garcia

Somewhere between "L.A. Confidential" and "Jurassic Park," readers can find this comic noir mystery about a private investigator (who happens to be a dinosaur) in contemporary New York.

Brian Stableford
Detective Charlotte Holmes of a futuristic United Nations police investigates the murder of a geneticist, killed by man-eating flowers. It is the first of several such murders and in each case the flowers were delivered by a beautiful woman.
Wen Spencer
Half-human half-alien Ukiah Oregon finds himself under scrutiny by Homeland Security when a dead member of the Temple of New Reason cult is found with photographs of Ukiah. Before he can investigate the cult's interest in him, Ukiah's son is abducted.
Douglas Adams
There is a long tradition of Great Detectives, and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. But his search for a missing cat uncovers a ghost, a time traveler, AND the devastating secret of humankind! Detective Gently's bill for saving the human race from extinction: NO CHARGE.
Philip K. Dick
Rick Deckard prowls the steel-and-microchip jungle of 21st-century Los Angeles. He's a 'blade runner' stalking genetically made criminal replicants. His assignment: kill them. Their crime: wanting to be human. Basis of the film Blade Runner.

Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
For 15 virtual reality gamers undertaking a four-day quest, the fantasy slaying of monsters, is suddenly interrupted by murder.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch

His name : Miles Flint. His occupation: Retrieval Artist. His job : Hunt down the Disappeared-outlaws on the run, wanted for crimes against alien cultures. The catch : Flint isn't working on the side of the law.

Jonathan Lethem

Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.

Also available on audio.

David Alexander Smith

The Boston of a century from the present serves as the gateway to Earth for aliens and has become a technological marvel where humans and aliens mix, struggling to create a new society while coping with greed, immense wealth, and murder.

Maxx Barry

In the not so distant future, the U.S. government has been privatized and huge American corporations rule the world. Wisecracking dectective Jennifer Government is hot on the trail of wrong-doers at Nike. Her search for justice leads her on an adventurous journey through the United States Economic Bloc and culminates in a world war.

David Brin

In a perilous future, disposable duplicate bodies fulfill every citizen's legal and illicit whim. Life as a 24-hour "ditto" is cheap, as Albert Morris knows. A brash investigator with a knack for trouble, he's sent plenty of clay duplicates into deadly peril, then "inloaded" memories from copies that were shot, crushed, drowned . . . all part of a day's work. But when Morris tackles a ring of crooks making bootleg copies of a famous actress, he trips into a secret so explosive it incites open warfare on the streets of Dittotown.

Joan Hess

When crop circles begin appearing in her little town, Police Chief Arly Hanks finds herself more than occupied with tabloid reporters, officers for UFORIA (Unidentified Flying Objects Reported in Arkansas), cattle mutilations, and the murder of a young ufo-ologist.

K.W. Jeter
Ex-information cop McNihil is enlisted to find the murderer of a young executive in a futuristic L.A., where the rich can seek forbidden thrills, indulging safely and anonymously in illicit fantasies through the use of computerized simulations known as prowlers.
J.D. Robb

Lt. Eve Dallas of the NYPD, circa 2059, investigates murder at a futuristic cosmetic surgery clinic, assisted by "her drop-dead gorgeous, fabulously wealthy, staggeringly brilliant husband, Roarke." Action packed thrills tinged with science fiction conundrums.

Philip Kerr

In the heart of Los Angeles, the "smart" building nicknamed "the Grid" can talk to its occupants, forecast the weather, and tell if any inhabitant has been taking drugs. On the eve of its opening, the key players gather to put the finishing touches on their masterpiece of architecture and computer science. Then something goes terribly wrong, and people begin to die. Now the creators must stop their creation--before it kils them all, one by one.

Philip K. Dick
The title story: Washington, D.C. has been murder-free thanks to astounding technology which identifies killers before they commit crimes. But when the chief of the Pre-crime unit is himself accused of a future murder, he has just 36 hours to discover who set him up. On audiocassette.
John Ridley

"In the near future, the world has become home to certain people with amazing genetic structures-giving them powers that make them frighteningly superior to normal humans. The Night Watchman was the first. Somewhere in San Francisco, he was out there-stopping a bank robbery, saving a kid from a runaway truck, whatever was needed. More 'superheroes' followed, though nobody called them that-but then came the bad ones, those who took pleasure in using their powers for ill. In response came the M-Tac squads: cops specially trained to fight these super-lethal enemies. Not a typical comic book superhero novel, John Ridley introduces a brave new world of heroes and villains, and shows that there's no such thing as a Good Guy or a Bad Guy."
Also available to download as an audiobook.

Paul J. McAuley
"London, in the aftermath of the Infowar. Surveillance cameras on every street corner, their tireless gaze linked to an artificial intelligence system. Censors patrolling the borders of the Internet. A young woman murdered before the gaze of eager voyeurs. A policeman sidelined to a backwater department seizes on the chance to contribute to this high-profile murder case, but soon finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue. Why was Sophie Booths murder broadcast over the Internet? What is the link between her murder and London's new surveillance system? Who is the self-styled Avenger, and why does he communicate only by email? Whole Wide World is a gripping conspiracy thriller set in a world where information is the universal currency and some people will do anything to be able to control it."