GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery, by Jim Bernheimer | I Smell Sheep

Friday, October 5, 2012

Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery, by Jim Bernheimer

I normally am not a huge fan of mystery novels, however I do enjoy the genre on occasion. And if there's some pretty cool sci-fi stuff involved then that's just icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery is set in the distant future when interstellar travel and the mass production of clones to do the actual work of settling planets has become commonplace. In his day, David Bagini was the best homicide detective on Darwin which made him an ideal candidate for a clone contract. Now his clones make up the homicide department of an entire planet. However, when the original David Bagini is found dead in his home it's up to the newest member of the department, Bagini Forty-Two, to solve the case. The problem is there's only one set of DNA at the crime scene and all forty-one suspects look pretty damn similar.

Overall I really liked this book and I'd recommend it for any of my sci-fi readers who are looking for a good mystery. I think what I liked the most about this book was seeing how the different Bagini clones developed over their lifetimes, which shows that they're not just mass-produced objects but proper people. There's the Bagini that became a dirty cop, the Bagini that became a hopeless alcoholic, and the Bagini that got religion. All of them started in a similar line of work with the same basic personality, but developed differently based on their own experiences. Of course, since this was a rather short book there wasn't much time to develop the idea to its fullest, but I think it did an excellent job in the time it had.

As for the actual mystery, I've got to admit I'm kind of on the fence. Since all the suspects have the same DNA, CSI-style lab wizardry isn't going to be any help, which I appreciate. However this also means that Bagini Forty-Two has to rely on the old methods of who has the opportunity and motive to commit the murder. And while I understand that it's part of good detective work I feel it leads to the detective making their accusation to the perpetrator and then the criminal mastermind spills the beans immediately on how and why they did it. I know I'm complaining that fiction doesn't follow real life exactly, but it always feels too darn neat and tidy for me. That said, it was still a pretty good detective novel and I enjoyed working on the case with Forty-Two.

My only other big complaint about Prime Suspects was the fairly big plot twist at the end. It makes a lot of sense in hindsight, but I still felt blind-sided and would have appreciated just one or two more hints. I think I enjoy plot twists a lot better when I can kind of predict them coming, or at least look back and see the evidence that they were coming but I didn't notice the first time. Again, that's more a matter of personal preference rather than anything else.

I definitely would recommend Prime Suspects for all my readers and I greatly appreciated the small Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy references as well. Come back next week when I talk about one of Bernheimer's other books, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain.

- Kalpar


  1. I'm not a big mystery fan either, but I enjoyed the SF/Mystery combination. Definately worth the read.

  2. Sounds like a good book when all is said and done. Love the tid bits of Hitchhiker that are thrown in. Nice review