“The Apollo Murders” by Chris Hadfield

The Apollo Murders

You’ve flown two Shuttle missions, acted as commander on the International Space Station, caught the world’s attention when you performed David Bowie songs with your guitar in space . . . so what do you do next?

Well, retired astronaut Chris Hadfield has penned his first work of fiction. “The Apollo Murders”.

When I heard about this book I had pre-ordered my signed copy before the ink was even dry on the pages.

It’s 1973 and there’s going to be a final mission to the Moon, and it has a top secret agenda.

Russia is also on its way there to secure a bounty hidden below the surface. Not everyone has their country’s best interests at heart though.

Moon struck

The story opens with quite a scenario featuring our main character

Kaz Zemeckis and from then on it’s flying machines and machismo all the way. There’s no doubt about it that Chris Hadfield is at heart, a scientist and engineer.

He beautifully explains every detail of the Saturn V and Apollo Command and Service Module and the spider-like Lunar Module.

His description of the launch is second-to-none and this is where the strength in his writing lies. It’s a rip-roaring adventure that spans a quarter of a million miles and the pace is relentless.

Just a thought

Working on the Fiction Team means that you never switch off when you’re reading something.

It also means you get to read the best writing there is. I enjoyed the book immensely, but what we have in technical detail and plot twists, we don’t really have in characterisation.

Everyone just seems a little one-dimensional.

I watched an interview with the author and he told us that his editor returned his initial manuscript with a note to cut 30,000 words from it!

He or she should have also asked him to flesh out his main characters a little bit too.

Mission accomplished

Overall it was a great read, and for space geeks there are lots of familiar things and people featured to make you smile.

It’s engaging and non stop, so Hadfield has made an excellent job of pacing his story and the technical details woven in are done beautifully.

You can feel his passion for this coming through, so I’m perhaps being a little bit picky for wanting my characters shown the same love too.

It’s a gripping, however, and you will find it hard to put down once you start. It’s not quite out of this world, but it’s close.

For more book reviews from the “Friend” team, click here.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!