Detective Travis Danten has just been transferred to Midtown precinct in Arizona from New Detroit. As an Omega, he can’t work homicide on his own, but he’s quickly put in front of a parade of AI Alphas to choose as his partner. Immediately, Travis is drawn to SdAI Virgil, and the two begin working murder cases. Though Virgil is completely artificial, he’s forgone the usual programming and therefore has built his knowledge and humanness from interaction. He’s also a Self-directed AI, meaning he can make his own choices.
Together, they begin a seamless working relationship. Their first big case is horrific, and quickly turns into a serial murder case. Travis is working himself ragged, determined to find who is killing pregnant Omegas. Virgil takes his responsibility to protect Travis seriously, and it only becomes more so when they give into their instinct and bond. But just when Travis and Virgil think there’s a break in the case, all hell breaks loose. And what they’ve found might be snatched away before they can even begin to enjoy it.
This was one story where the blurb didn’t do the book justice, even though it captured my attention. There is so much more going on in this short novella than the description implies. The author takes the standard A/B/O world and throws it into the future, but grounds it solidly in reality. Everything here could absolutely happen one day. So it at once felt familiar and foreign, and really held my attention all the way through.
World wars, viruses, and mass destruction have ended the world as we know it, but it has been built back up into a new order. Technology is far advanced, including humanoid synthetic AIs. I loved being dropped into this world, and the author does a fantastic job of creating a sense of place, as well as filling the reader in on everything we need to know. It’s done with a talented hand, never even getting close to the info dump line while still being fully fleshed out. I was engrossed in the story from word one.
Add to that two really engaging characters. Travis is an Omega, but he’s not a doormat or overly submissive. I liked the way he was portrayed. He was the perfect balance of self-assured and confident, while also exhibiting traits that made it clear he was an Omega. Virgil is an AI, albeit one who can think and basically feel on his own. Here Creech did a truly fantastic job, balancing Virgil’s experience and “humanness” with his artificial intelligence. He’s a robot, essentially, and at times he acts like one. But in every instance, his AI tendencies are tempered by his human ones, and vice versa. We have two really great MCs to tell the tale.
And chemistry? These guys have it in spades. From the moment they meet, there’s a tension to their interaction. Not in a negative way, but because they are learning about each other, finding their rhythm, while being insanely attracted to each other. I loved that Virgil, though synthetic, had all the Alpha tendencies he should exhibit. And I loved his overprotectiveness. His job was to protect Travis, yes, but it went so much deeper than that, without every straying into the creepy. These guys worked completely, as partners on the force, when it came to sex, and when they bonded.
So on the whole I really enjoyed this book. But I did find the ending just a bit lacking. It seemed a bit abrupt to me, and one major storyline failed to be completely resolved and another’s resolution just barely hinted at. It seemed as if things were just really getting going, and to have it end where it did was slightly disappointing. I wanted more, even though it ended with hope and a solid HFN that could easily be an HEA. So for that, I had to bump down my rating just a bit.
All in all, I really liked this book. It was a great twist on Alphas and Omegas, AI, and futuristic society. The world building was outstanding, and the characters really kept me engaged. I can definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes those elements.