Written under the pseudonym "Eric Van Lhin," this hard-boiled story of cheap grifters, Martian slums, and rampant crime features ex-cop Bruce Gordon, shipped to Mars with a knife, 100 credits, and a yellow card that means no return...
ies--all Mars smelled, since water was still too rare for frequent bathing--and their cheap perfume, and clouded with cheap Marsweed cigarettes.
Gordon swung where their eyes pointed, until he saw Fats Eller sidling through the groups, then let the knife slip into the palm of his hand as the crowd seemed to hold its breath. Fats plucked a sheaf of Martian bank notes from his pocket and tossed them to the croupier.
"Cash in his chips." Then his pouchy eyes turned to Gordon. "Get your money, punk, and get out! And stay out!"
For a moment, as he began pocketing the bills, Gordon thought he was going to get away that easily. Fats watched him dourly, then swung on his heel, just as a shrill, strangled cry went up from someone in the crowd.
The deportee let his glance jerk to it, then froze. His eyes caught the sight of a hand pointing behind him, and he knew it was too crude a trick to bother with. But he paused, shocked to see the girl he'd seen on Mother Corey's stairs gazing at him i
This book presents a different take on the Mars settlement story - Mars is riddled with crime and political corruption that threatens the very existence of the colony. Bruce Gordon is exiled from Earth and dropped into the middle of the mess - as a newly assigned member of "Security" - with little information to go on. A decent read if you can suspend your brain and ignore some very unlikely plot scenarios.
"Nice people don't get to Mars. They stay on Earth, being careful not to find out what it's like up here."
Hard-bitten ex-cop Bruce Gordon, exiled to Mars, takes on the corrupt Martian system. A real potboiler of its period.
A most enjoyable effort from a giant of the genre. The lovable character "Mother" comes alive particularly. This well written story illustrates why Mr. del Rey is famous and I am not. A very good read.