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Under the Amoral Bridge by Gary A. Ballard

Under the Amoral Bridge - Gary Ballard

In this cyberpunkian near future novel, Artemis Bridge is a fixer – the go-to guy for when you need something illegal or under the radar. Bridge doesn’t care how foul your need is, he simply finds you the guy who can make it happen, taking a small fixer fee along the way. He’s proud to say he himself never does anything indecent; he merely facilitates. Of course, that all goes sideways when a dying associate feeds him a recording of the present mayor doing something quite distasteful.

Our main character Bridge likes to think of himself as a cool cat, making his money on the morally depleted but never dipping in the dirty waters himself. I can’t say I particularly liked this character, but he was so fascinating I didn’t have to. He obviously has morals concerning his own behavior and yet holds back on enforcing those morals on others. Plus he makes most of his money off of one type of degenerate or other. He has a body guard (Archimedes is his handle) who is paid to look aware and tough but not paid enough to take a punch for Bridge. I found their banter and dynamic both comical and interesting.

While there are few females in this story, they are integral to the plot (hurray!). The main female character is Bridge’s ex-girlfriend. I think she got all the brains in the relationship. She too is an interesting character with her own values and hobbies and actions. Much of the cyberpunk hardware belongs to her and hence, much of the the cyberpunk scenes include her.

The plot has a few unexpected twists and turns and they were a treat to watch unfold. Bridge has to call in favors, rely on friends, and outwit the bad guys. However, bad guys are nearly all he deals with, so there’s plenty of fancy foot work to stay ahead of a bullet. All in all this was an enjoyable ride with an original lead character. Definitely worthy of my time.

The Narration: Joe Hempel had a variety of voices, each distinct, for all the characters. He even pulled off a few accents as the roles required. While I found his voice for Bridge more of a boy-next-door voice instead of shady, slick, psuedo-criminal, he still made it work and I connected with the character through the narration. He even went the extra length with one of the cyberpunk voices, giving it the echo described in the scene.