I Only Killed Him Once (Adam Christopher) – book review

The third and final installment in the Raymond Electromatic series, I Only Killed Him Once sees robot detective – turned gun for hire – in the fight of his “life”.

“Life” requires a bit of wiggle room here as Raymond Electromatic is a robotic detective / hitman with a 24 hour long memory, and a computer over-lady called Ada who sets him off on each job every day with a newly installed memory tape and no idea what he’s done, or where he’s been before. Except for knowing that he’s a robot, that he “talks” to Ada, how to detect and a bunch of other things that may ring some “what the” bells if you’re new to these novels.

But, some personal past history. Really enjoyed the first book in this series, Made to Kill; developed a slight dose of the bleaghs when it came to the second, Killing is My Business; so wasn’t too sure what would be served up in the third. This whole scenario seemed so unusual and original in the first book, but struggled a little to maintain that freshness and quirkiness in the second. This third novel, however, works as a closing chapter, if indeed this doesn’t turn out to be another one of those trilogies that loses count.

As three short, sharp, unusually placed novels, the Raymond Electromatic series is fun. You could probably read any of them, including this one, as a standalone, but you may find yourself with a desire to go back and read the earlier two, and personally, this reader felt like they worked better in sequence. Raymond doesn’t have a lot of character development (what with him being a robot and all), but there’s something about the build up of the relationship (well sort of) between him and Ada that leads to events in this third novel that help flesh out the circumstances. To say nothing of explain just what / why and where Ada and he fit together. Although you may find that some elements (yes we get his memory tapes are 24 hours long) can get a bit repetitive.

All in all, these are supposed to be fun, a bit on the tongue-in-cheek side. They’re definitely different and a strong genre-mash up, so the Raymond Electromatic series, and I Only Killed Him Once, need to be taken with a hefty sense of humour.

Karen Chisholm
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