Tor, Jun 2001, 14.50, 285 pp.
Private detective Chase "Max" Maxwell was doing his usual losing a bundle of money while gambling when Zoe Domingo entered the casino. She informs him that she has need of a sleuth so he grabs her cash and watch to call his hand, but loses anyway. To his shock, Max learns from a sniffing chimera that his client is part human and part jaguar, making her a chimera too. Since these genetically engineered critters have no rights beyond that of a slave they cannot hire humans, but Zoe insists her former master, abolitionist Janna Gold freed her.
Someone killed Janna and the police believe that someone is Zoe. She wants Max to prove her innocence because she insists the robo-cops murdered her liberator. The investigation quickly turns ugly and soon everyone chases after Max and Zoe because they want a powerful earring that Janna gave to her. With no place to hide or run, Max and Zoe are in deep trouble. If they somehow live, they probably will spend a few decades in jail.
CHIMERA is dark science fiction novel that uses genetic engineering to tell a human rights story. The story line is faster than a speeding rocket ship and loaded with excitement yet allows room for the human rights element to flourish without slowing down the pace. Max is a classic hard-boiled detective placed in a future world and Zoe is his femme fatale though reengineered. Readers who enjoy science fiction mysteries will believe Will Sletterly's latest tale, CHIMERA, is simply out of this world.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner