Review: The Atomic Cicrus by K.C. Finn
Caecilius Rex is a detective in a post apocalyptic future where the drug of choice for criminals is a chemical mix that gives them super powers. It’s sold at a secret venue called the Atomic Circus where you have to be invited to get in. It’s a place where you can buy body parts, weapons, and drugs; it’s a veritable criminal’s bazaar where you could buy all manner of illicit goods. There’s a new drug available at the circus that’s gaining popularity. It’s a chemical mixture that gives you super powers; it can make you stronger, faster, or even fly, but it’s killing people, and one of those people lands at Rex’s feet. To solve the murder, Rex needs to be one of those special people that get invited to the Atomic Circus so he can find out where these drugs are coming from. While his expert detective skills get him in, he’ll be threatened at gunpoint every time he’s in there. To survive the circus, Rex teams up with his ex-military neighbor Kendra. Together they unravel a plot to kill Rex and find out that powerful people need him out of the way so that bigger plans can be set in motion.
Atomic Circus is a detective story at its core and succeeds at telling a straightforward story that inspires the imagination with little effort on the reader’s part. I found the writing to be simple and straightforward in the best possible way allowing me to just sit back and enjoy the story instead of dissecting the language or adjusting to the writing style. As for world building, I understood the places the characters were in; the police station, the circus, Rex’s house, but they all felt disjointed, connected only by the characters and not by a larger world. The only piece of the story that hints at building a larger world is the toxic smog that fills the world; which requires everyone to wear a gas mask whenever they go outside. The idea of the chemicals giving the characters super powers is an intriguing idea. I was afraid at first that this would quickly turn into an X-Men knockoff and everyone was going to be throwing each other through building, but I was happy to find that this was not the case. The effects on the body seem to be duplicitous. Example: while giving you the ability to fly, it doesn’t actually turn you into Superman. You simply float until it wears off and then you come crashing back down to Earth. This gives the chemical mix sort of a nefarious plausibility. Atomic Circus is a quick and fun ride and I look forward to more world building and character development in future novels.
Print Length: 172 pages