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Crime Net by Colin F Barnes

Technology Isn’t Always Used With Good Intentions

Crime Net is a collection of stories that delve into the nefarious side of cyberpunk and tech-thriller fiction. In a modern society, filled with affordable technology and always-on networks, some electric dreams aren’t always what we expect. 

Featuring stories from four talented authors, we get inside the head of a man heading for rock-bottom until a too-good-to-be-true job opportunity comes his way; watch a devoted fan get a little too close to her idol; see what happens when gene splicing technology falls into the wrong hands, and experience a driven woman’s mission to kill in the underworld of a futuristic city. 

Anachron Press, the independent publisher, has been around for a while now and each new book that they publish continues to impress. The latest addition to their ever-growing catalogue is a short story anthology that mashes together crime and science fiction. Crime Net contains five short tales. Each story offers the author’s own unique interpretation of how crime is going to evolve in the future.

The Silent Partner by Nichola P. Oakley – You’re offered the chance to escape all the troubles, to live the dream and spend every day chasing the next big thrill. Too good to be true? Well, there’s always a price that needs to be paid isn’t there. This was darker than I was expecting, in a good way I should stress. It features what I’ll call a less than happy ending but it is an entirely appropriate one.

Becoming Tabitha by R.A. Smith – A case of identity theft that explores the question is the nature of celebrity more important than the celebrities themselves? There’s an unexpected and nicely creepy undercurrent in this story. Hardly a surprise when one character is essentially trying to replace another.

Belonging by T.F. Grant – Special agent Lucius Blake and his equally special partner, Felix, investigate a group of missing children in the wilds of the Welsh countryside. This may be my favourite story from the collection. It had some great characters and I really liked the set up. I’d be interested in reading more stories that feature more of the two main protagonists featured in this particular tale. The dynamic that exists between them both is a lot of fun.

The Katabasis of Eurydice by Vivian Caethe –I like the way that this story plays around with the conventions of the traditional detective yarn.  A female detective, slightly down at heel, doing whatever she needs to, to get by. There is also a nice nod to ancient Greek myths. The way that is blended with the high tech science fiction worked really well.

Rebirth: The Techxorcist Part 0.5 by Colin F. Barnes – To round things off a short prequel to the forthcoming release, The Techxorcist. I particularly like the world-building going on in this story, sets things up nicely for the main feature. Based on this tantalising prologue I’ll be looking forward to the novel’s publication.

Overall, Crime Net is a solid little anthology that features some first class fiction, exactly what I’ve come to expect from this particular publisher. This is exactly the sort of book I like to get lost in for a couple of hours. The collection is available now. Further information can be found via the Anachron Press website.

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