“Missing on Orbital 4” by Cory Wilcox

Missing on Orbital 4 (Jake Hemlock Adventures, Book 1)

Cory Wilcox
Independently Published (2021)
ISBN 9798493784736
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/2021)

Jake Hemlock is a private investigator who resides on the space station, Orbital 4. Life there is much like that on present-day Earth in that humans still engage in illegal activities, such as human trafficking. Modern technology has only upped the game when it comes to criminal behavior, it has not allowed us to outgrow it. Jake’s current interest is employed by a criminal organization which happens to operate on the space station. This bothers him, but he finds himself unable to resist her charms. Occasionally, his investigations end up helping this organization as well. Apparently, they do have some standards, so he is not actually engaging in bad behavior when this happens. But when Jake is contacted to help find a missing woman, he has no idea the can of worms he is about to open.

Initially, the case appears to just involve finding a person who has gone missing, but it quickly morphs into something on a much grander scale. Jake finds himself horrified to discover criminal activity that goes beyond the scope of what you would imagine a person could be capable of doing to another. He is determined to use his sleuthing skills, and the assistance of his own digitally constructed assistant, to find answers so that he can stop a truly horrific criminal activity.

Cory Wilcox has written an outstanding science fiction tale with this first novel. While I realize this is a fictional story, he does an excellent job of describing the settings so that they do appear real in my imagination. He is able to explain the mechanics of the technology in a way that makes it understandable, without being overwhelming in detail. In other words, he shows us how things work without getting overly technical. I appreciate this skill because I want to focus on the compelling drama taking place, and not be held up by terms or descriptions that take away from that fantastic plot.

The characters are also interesting and well described. I enjoyed their interactions with each other, even when they were not getting along. Wilcox takes us inside their minds so that we can see their weaknesses and their strengths. Some of the characters are extremely complex, and I liked gaining a greater understanding of their motivations. The one drawback I found with this book was the many typographical errors that detract from the flow of the story. Editing could easily resolve this issue, and is very important for any future works. This was the only negative, though—everything else was outstanding.

Wilcox leaves room for future stories on this space station with Jake Hemlock, and I look forward to reading them so I can see where his incredible imagination takes us next!

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