The Stars Were Right by K.M. Alexander is a space opera, fantasy, street-gritty noir, crazed-villain sort of yarn set in the far future but filled with analog tech alongside gleaming splendor, and non-humanoid races mingling with humans in the many-leveled city of Lovat.
Waldo Bell is a caravan master who, along with his non-human business partner, Wensem, carts freight between two main metropolitan centers. The most recent journey was hampered by a mysterious, oversized cargo that slows progress, and the caraveners are happy to be off the road and flush with money. While Wensem returns home for a family ritual, Waldo wanders the city in search of food and old friends.
And is arrested for the murder of one of those friends.
He escapes, and goes on the run. In his attempts to seek aid and discover the real criminal, his alleged crimes compound as more friends—old and new—are killed. Hagen, the proprietor of an antique shop specializing in religious and cultic items, becomes a reluctant but valuable ally in the search for the mastermind behind the bizarre, gruesome murders.
And, along the way, Waldo encounters the possibility of romance with a woman who seems out of his reach.
I enjoyed this fast-paced novel, and look forward to reading more about the adventures of Waldo Bell and company.