2017 Winner of the Sunburst Award Society's Copper Cylinder Adult Award
2017 Canada Reads Finalist
2017 Locus Award Finalist for Science Fiction Novel Category
2017 Sunburst Award Finalist for Adult Fiction
2017 Aurora Awards Finalist for Best Novell
Madeline Ashby's Company Town is a brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can't be saved, or saving herself.
"Elegant, cruel, and brutally perfect, Company Town is a prize of a novel." —Mira Grant, New York Times Bestselling and Hugo-Award nominated author of the Newsflesh series
New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.
Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig—making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?
Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be—but now, the danger is personal.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Ashby smoothly brings mass market noir detective fiction into the near future, but she struggles to resolve her story satisfactorily. Hwa does pretty well for herself as a bodyguard for the sex workers who populate a self-contained community/oil rig off the eastern coast of Canada. She wants cybernetic enhancements, but her uncaring mother won't let her get them. When an obscenely rich family with unusual views buys the entire town, Hwa's brought into their family affairs, which include multiple murders. Hwa is an immediately likable protagonist who isn't afraid to shatter rules or bones. The world is an updated version of Raymond Chandler's, with gray morals and broken characters, and Hwa's internal monologue has just the right balance of introspection and wit. Unfortunately, Ashby (the Machine Dynasty series) twists the plot one too many times by the end. Readers are left with a resolution that's original but feels forced into too few pages to work properly. This is a small blemish in an otherwise very solid page-turner.