“Sable Dark” is the latest novel by author, Al Hess. It is the second book in the “Hep Cats of Boise” series. It tells the story of Mazarin, a genderfluid AI who now has freedom of movement apart from their previous navigator, Reed. The story picks up right where the previous novel left off.
Wave, the company that created the Nav programs, has been taken down. Their shady and corrupt policies have become public knowledge. But Reed believes he is still being stalked by one of their former employees, Phil Rice. The man at the center of the scandal in the previous book. Though he was arrested, he has somehow managed to escape prison and Reed believes that Rice wants revenge. Mazarin is the only person who shares Reed’s concern.
This story took a slightly darker turn from the previous one, in my opinion. The aesthetic of the bland world and the decoist world is still there, but we get a deeper look at the society. Mazarin’s attempt to figure out who he/she is quite interesting. Maz switches between her female and his male form throughout the story, depending on who they are with and what their mood is that day.
While Reed learns things about himself that he had not been aware of before. He discovers that there is more to his seemingly odd behavior and that the link between him and his former Nav may not be completely broken.
This story introduces us to a new character, Sable. Sable is another A.I. that has been discovered and has been helping Maz with upgrades. But unlike Maz, who enjoys the company of humans and tries to assimilate into society, Sable thinks humans are a waste. She belittles Maz for not becoming more than a poor human copy.
Throughout the book, the reader finds themselves questioning what is real and what is not as Reed seems to fall down a rabbit hole of hallucinations and near insanity. Maz holds the key to saving not only Reed but society from something potentially worse than Wave itself.
If you enjoyed the previous book, you will definitely enjoy this one. It was deep and well written, I found myself having to force myself to stop reading and take a break as it was so easy to fall into the story. As a reader, you will begin to find yourself questioning what is happening, and I highly recommend giving it a try. If you have not read Mazarin Blue, I would suggest reading up on that also, so you are ready for what comes with Sable Dark.
Scheduled for release on Jan. 27, 2021.
Mazarin Blue – Amazon
Sable dark – Amazon
Al Hess – Facebook