The Remnant Vault by Robert Scott-Norton

The Remnant Vault by Robert Scott-NortonScott-Norton mixes visceral techno-horror with complex characters to create a narrative that will appeal to both cyberpunk and police procedural fans.

This book is the second in the Tombs Rising series. Thus, this review reveals fragments of the past.

Following the death of his wife and the man who killed her, and the revelation his handler was actually a vastly powerful telepath, Jack Winston has taken indefinite leave. But now OsMiCorp want him to return to work. So, in the hope of at least escaping the macabre job of Remnant Keeper, he accepts a request to replace a dead police telepath for just one case.

As with the previous volume, the plot relies strongly on a technology allowing telepaths to read the last memories of the dead from their eyes, and the methods criminals might go to to circumvent it. And, as with the last book, this is handled in a restrained – if necessarily slightly grim – manner.

The theme of telepaths being useful pariahs also continues from the previous book, both revealing more of the hypocrisies and conspiracies within the anti-telepath crusade and showing more nuances of common opinion.

However – although it does continue Jack’s story – this novel is not solely an extension of the same plot, allowing readers unfamiliar with the first volume to appreciate this as a stand-alone thriller.

Scott-Norton skilfully updates Jack’s personality to create a character who is both plausibly traumatized by the events of the first book and still able to act as a major protagonist.

In parallel with Jack, Scott-Norton provides several other viewpoint characters, some deeper portrayals of returning characters and others fresh – yet connected – protagonists. This both adds to the sense of a wider world without having to vastly escalate the situations Jack faces, and provides opportunities for increasing tension through careful use of dramatic irony.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel greatly. I recommend it to readers seeking a different spin on cyberpunk or the techno-thriller.

I received a free copy from the author with a request for a fair review.

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