“There was a touch of reluctance in her voice, and he had to wonder whether it was simply a matter of knowing what was on the disks and not wanting him to see it or that she didn’t want to pry into Kazdan’s affairs more than necessary. But that didn’t make any sense—not if she wanted answers.”
(For teaser sentences on other books, see MizB’s Should be Reading.)
Memory Zero by Keri Arthur starts in an unusual way. Sam, a rather normal detective in a world that acknowledges the existence of vampires and other non-human creatures, has to kill her partner Kazdan when he attacks her. While trying to clear her name, she finds unknown assailants trying to assassinate her. What’s interesting is though Sam is supposed to be a normal human, she develops abilities no human should have. This first becomes indisputable when she flees an assassination attempt by jumping out of a two-story building and landing on her back on pavement with no ill effects.
Gabriel is an experienced member of the Spook Squad who ends up protecting Sam and investigating her at the same time. She resents him, thinking he sees her as a lab rat, but he goes out of his way to save her out of more than one deadly situation. Gabriel has his own unique abilities, which he shows when he casually takes to flight.
Memory Zero goes along at a good clip, with surprising twists and turns. It takes a while to get used to this combination of fantasy and science fiction, with vampires and powerful handheld lasers existing in the same universe. Sam and Gabriel end up unraveling conspiracies with implications far beyond a special police squad, leading to the tumultuous climactic scenes that seem more science fictional than fantasy.
A weak point is that Sam escapes more than once from some prison or locked room, just because no one bothered to keep a camera pointed at her. The futuristic nature of the story just makes this glaring.
For me, a relief is that there were no sex scenes and no romance in Memory Zero. I like urban fantasy without the girl falling for the bad boy, or wondering if two characters are going to get into a clench right at the halfway point.