Format: Kindle serial, 48 pages (ca. 12,000 words)
What’s your life worth on the open market?
A debt collector can tell you precisely.
Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He’s just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja’s sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane… until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn’t what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone—a dark pit he’s not sure he’ll be able to climb out of again.
Contains mature content and themes. For YA-appropriate thrills, see Susan’s Mindjack series.
Delirium is approximately 12,000 words or 48 pages, and is one of nine episodes in the first season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. For more about the Debt Collector serial, see www.DebtCollectorSeries.com
The following review is based on a copy I got via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Thanks to having participated in the book blitz for the Debt Collector serial, I knew quite well what I signed up for when I requested this first episode on NetGalley. Delirium is every bit as gritty as I’d expected, and I devoured the whole episode in one go. I would have read more if I’d had it! I really enjoy these serialized chunks of stories though because the format means you can squeeze it in anywhere and read it all at once, fully immerse yourself.
Although I can’t say I’d want to live in the world of Debt Collector myself, I can already tell from the short glimpse I had that I do not at all mind spending my fictional time there! Susan Kaye Quinn really has come up with a unique world I can’t wait to experience in more detail. The story is set in the future, but not so far removed that the reader has no point of identification. The world building is brought in unobtrusively, just as much as is needed at the time. There is no info-dumpy dialogue or inner monologue, but you still gather enough to follow the story.
Delirium, or Lirium as he calls himself for short, is an intriguing and complicated character. Though not much is known of his background yet, I think he is torn between opposites. At only twenty years old, he works as a debt collector, a person trained to collect the life-force of those people whose burden on society outweighs their potential future use to it. Often, that means elderly, sick people who have no chance of getting better and only a few weeks left to live. After drawing their life force, the collector gets a high off it, but must pass it on to a person deemed more deserving of it, keeping only a 10% share. As you can guess, there are downsides to the job.
Another person I’d like to know more about is Elena, the girl who disrupts Lirium’s usual way of dealing with the aftermath of the debt transfer. She has her own share of secrets. She’s trouble in a pretty package. She makes him question things.
If you’re looking for something unique that combines sci-fi with the atmosphere of an old noir film and overall dark themes, narrated by a character with a wry sort of humor – here you go. The writing is instantly gripping and will keep swirling through your head even after you finish the story. Personally, I can’t wait to see where this serial is headed!
What do you think of the premise of the series? Have you checked it out? If not, click here to be taken to a guest post where Susan explains her genre. There are also two giveaways, one for the package of episode 1-3 (US only) and an international one for this first episode.