Book Review: The Dark Side by Anthony O’Neill

Cover of the book The Dark Side by Anthony O'Neill
The Dark Side
by Anthony O’Neill
Simon & Schuster, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on June 1, 2016.

**STARRED REVIEW** There’s been a series of terrorist acts in the anarchic criminal city of Purgatory on the far side of the Moon. Damien Justus is the cop tasked with solving these crimes—but he’s a newbie ex-pat from Earth who doesn’t understand the complicated politics involved. Meanwhile, a murderer is making his or her way toward Purgatory through the back country of the Moon’s so-called “dark side” and leaving bodies in the wake. This is a smart, rollicking sf-detective-noir genre-blend with a delightfully dark and snide sense of humor. It’s formulaic in the best way possible—a good cop, a corrupt system, powerful forces at play—with excellent characterizations, first-class world building, fast-paced plotting, a main character you want to root for, and a genuinely sinister villain. While the ultimate solution of the mystery is a little pat, it’s satisfying, and the book’s ending isn’t quite what you expect. This incredibly entertaining novel is unmitigated fun to read, and is sure to be at the top of many genre readers’ favorite books of the year.

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