Jack Parker is a professional investigator who lives for little more than his next swig of Glenfiddich 18 to blot out the past. His clients? That nervous breed of MarsTopia Corpexec who worry about cheating spouses… and backstabbing underlings… and the existential question of where your soul goes after you die. For the right price, Parker finds them answers--to the first two, anyway.
Misty Sheridan is perhaps Parker’s only true friend. She, too, lost everything when Earth was destroyed...her sister had taken Misty’s baby back to Chicago to visit their parents. But everyone on MarsTopia had a story like that, and Misty was a survivor. Running The Vapor Lounge, she tries to play by New Shanghai City rules and regulations… up to a point. There are clients who will pay a premium for privacy and security and Misty doesn’t ever name names.
Kasper “Tiny” Gutman is the mastermind behind the MarsTopian underworld gang, the Black Birds. He stays well back in the shadows, but like any fine puppet-master, knows how to pull all the right strings. Whether by means of blackmail or Tiny’s sheer eel-like slipperiness, the authorities have never been able to touch him. While certainly not a man to be trusted, he and Parker have been of mutual benefit on several occasions. Tiny is as charming as he is deadly-- and the 300-pound behemoth is no one to cross.
Eleven years before our story opens, all life on Earth was ended. Now, only a few million humans still exist, scattered throughout the remaining civilized colonies of the solar system--forever exiled.
P.I. Jack Parker was one of the lucky few to have escaped Earth's tragedy.
On that infamous day, he just happened to be working a case on MarsTopia, the crown jewel among these colonies on the red planet. He survived on that destination resort development, but half-wished he hadn’t. The echoes of the life he left behind on Earth…a life lost forever…grew louder every hour. Until, that is, the day 11 years later when he was gunned down and killed.
But here’s where Parker gets lucky and our action begins. The next day is MarsTopia’s annual Dead Man’s Party holiday. Following custom, Parker and all the other recently deceased in MarsTopia get a nice perk: they are each 3D printed back to life in a new body and given just enough time to enjoy the gala. But Parker has no intention of politely resuming his death after the party wraps. He has just four hours to break out of the 3D lab, pick up the leads in his troubling case, and find his own killer. And, rushing against time he actually doesn’t legally have, perhaps uncover what triggered Earth’s demise.