This book is very exciting. It’s similar in setting (moon colony) and main characters (cop Noelle DeRicci, Retrieval Artist Miles Flint) and aliens (the Disty) but it’s two notches better with tension and characters. The descriptions of orange and red Martian dust are really evocative.
The title refers to the discovery of a human skeleton underneath a Disty settlement on Mars. Given the species cultural phobia about death, human investigators are brought in to investigate and defuse the situation. Instead, a mass grave is located just feet below this skeleton. (spoilers… The mass grave triggers a Mars-wide panic among the Disty: they flee from one dome to the next, and even begin mass exodus from the planet itself. DeRicci as newly-appointed Moon security czar is faced with hostile media, jealous ex-colleagues, and potential interplanetary war.
This book provides yet another great example of human-alien cultural interaction. I’d forgotten Retrieval Artist as a point of comparison when I was reading The Braided World, but this brought it back to mind.
I have previously only read Retrieval Artist book one, The Disappeared, and my library does not have the second or third. Now I want to take the extra effort to find the intervening books because this one is a real page-turner.