THE COLD BE­TWEEN Make love not war

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 10 March 400 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor El­iz­a­beth Bonesteel

Pub­lisher Harper Voy­ager

This de­but novel starts with girl- meets- boy – or rather, sea­soned woman meets sea­soned man on a space colony. Frisky sex fol­lows ( fully but not eye- wa­ter­ingly de­scribed), but soon af­ter the man is ac­cused of killing the woman’s ex. Worse, the lovers come from two very dif­fer­ent in­ter­stel­lar hu­man cul­tures, which may be about to go to war…

That be­gin­ning may make read­ers fear this is a genre ro­mance in space- opera cloth­ing. But it be­comes a highly en­joy­able read, with meaty punch- ups, adult emo­tions and as­sertive fem­i­nine char­ac­ters. The mur­der mys­tery be­comes a con­spir­acy thriller, then heads out into space for the rev­e­la­tions. Th­ese are the least sat­is­fy­ing parts of the book, es­pe­cially when it comes to a uni­verse- defin­ing de­ci­sion which a char­ac­ter makes in barely the space of a para­graph.

In fair­ness, this part of the story may be ex­plored more in the forth­com­ing se­quels; there isn’t a cliffhanger, mind, and the book sat­is­fies as a stand­alone. What’s re­ally im­pres­sive about The Cold Be­tween, though, is that the char­ac­ters’ pasts are sketched so well that it al­ready feels like it’s part of an es­tab­lished se­ries. An­drew Os­mond

El­iz­a­beth Bonesteel once ducked out of Alien (“I couldn’t take it”) and “cried like a baby” at The Wrath Of Khan.

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