Parrish Plessis returns in the third of the series, and now she’s a fabulous chameleon, still grounded in an unlikely Earth-mother sense of responsibilities, yet with skills and determination that are discovered/grow with each new battle.
The quick-thinking problem-solving can also lead Parrish into more danger, so de Pierres carries on, allowing her heroine to grow into a fantastic combination of a James Bond and/or Max from Dark Angel, each sticky situation taking its toll and yet offering another glimpse of potential – for both the heroine and the story arcs.
This is science fiction/fantasy (currently often referred to as speculative fiction) of the highest order. While the main story is terrific in its pace and exploration of de Pierres’ fantastic future world, there are moments of truly clever thinking by the author.
For example, just after a third of the book, Parrish is a speck, a tiny mote in a huge data stream, adrift and directionless, dangerously close to death of various kinds. After numerous failures her ‘inner Angel’ suggests a solution: “Use smell to find your friend.”
The reader (and Parrish) are lifted from the digital virtual space, away from issues of power and corruption, away from good and evil or any thoughts of mortality and the universe:
“I followed a pale auburn stream of data, seeking out a familiar smell. It was there, behind the salty tangs of the data-streams and the mustiness of the repositories – the faintest odour of life.
“I set myself after it like a dog.”
This ability to infuse the fantastic with the immediate, to step down from the ‘mighty path’ that can strangle much fantasy, is a rare skill that de Pierres can use in just the right measure.
Crash Deluxe is a fine third installment in the Plessis novels. More enemies have been avoided/repelled/vanquished and Parrish is more or less whole at the conclusion of another wonderful series of capades. Easily 5 stars and I wait for further installments.