The Fuse Volume 1 by Antony Johnston, Justin Greenwood

The Fuse Graphic Novel, Volume 1, collects a full story arc in an ongoing story set in a space station orbiting Earth. The book is a snappy, mature, and nuanced murder mystery with enough intriguing clues to keep readers interested but not give too much away.

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Story: Young detective Dietrich arrives on The Fuse – an orbital station with a bad reputation. Immediately, he becomes embroiled in Fuse politics when a homeless ‘cabler’ ends up dead at his feet. Paired with a mature native detective, he’s about to learn all he needs to know about The Fuse as they scramble to solve the case. But this one random murder goes much deeper than either could have imagined.

Most of the components of the murder mystery in this story are rote – double crosses and obfuscations popular since noir became big in the 1940s. Where The Fuse really excels isn’t the story so much as the backstory, worldbuilding, and especially dialogue.  The world set up is intriguing and not your typical sci fi story in space. The dialogue is brisk, nuanced, and very much a part of the setting.  We don’t have 2014 dialogue in a futuristic story, fortunately.

As the plot began to devolve and motivations uncovered or discovered, I admittedly wasn’t all that impressed with a ‘seen this before’ murder case. But this complete story arc in this first volume is clearly an opening gambit for much more to come. Tantalizing hints at the end of the volume suggest there is much more to our upstanding protagonist Dietrich – and that he has a vested interest in coming to the down and out station.  I look forward to seeing where the authors will take this now that the first mystery is solved.

Reviewed from an ARC.

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