Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

Set in the future, this is a detective story of greed but also of abuse and desire to live forever. It isn’t so much a world-building book, the world seems very familiar, it is what can be given to people who are ill or injured to repair them that is different. T7, given as an injection, repairs the body but also makes it grow and so there are a few very tall/wide/extremely long-limbed people who are known as Titans. Not many because you need a very lot of money to receive this ‘treatment’.

When one of these titans is killed, Cal Sounder is called in to solve the case. He is not a policeman but a consultant to the police and so can be denied if things do not go well. What Sounder does well is to straddle the world of normal people and Titans, law-abiding and criminal, rich and poor and needs to draw on all of these groups to solve the case with the answer right under his nose.

There are a few elements of sci-fi other than the T7 itself such as a self-healing putty that you can place in shot wounds in people to heal them and a key card which is injected into a person and then dissolves after 24 hours providing a vitamin shot. What the story needed was a device that would enable people to change the way they looked and instead of plastic surgery, Harkaway took the sci-fi route. This isn’t a criticism, in fact it is quite an original solution to the problem, it’s just that the sci-fi goes no deeper than that. The story that lies behind it is as old as time.

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