Read This, Then That: LOCK IN by John Scalzi and Other Sci-Fi Crime Reads

Eric Smith

Staff Writer

Eric Smith an author, blogger, and literary agent based in Philadelphia. When he isn’t busy trying to discover new books, he sometimes tries to write his own. Blog: Eric Smith Twitter: @ericsmithrocks

Well, John Scalzi’s incredible sci-fi detective novel, Lock In, is certainly one of my favorite reads of the year. I highlighted it in our Best Reads of the Month for October, and I’ve still got the book on my mind.

In Lock In, a virus leaves one percent of mankind frozen within their own bodies, but fully aware of their situation- a condition known as Haden’s Syndrome. This changes the world, and new technologies emerge to support those affected. In Scalzi’s novel, you’ll meet people and robots that can carry a locked in person’s consciousness, and a virtual world where they can interact (a la Second Life). But with new technologies and changes in society, comes problems.

The story centers around two FBI agents and their mission to solve a Haden-related murder, and the incredible complications surrounding it. It’s a shocking novel that’s impossible to put down, and will definitely make you want to explore the sci-fi detective/ crime thriller genre, niche as that may seem.

So yeah. That niche genre. For those of you who have picked up Lock In, and are looking for something similar… I’ve pooled together a list of other sci-fi detective novels that’ll hopefully keep you satisfied, at least until Scalzi gives us something new. HURRY UP JOHN.

cleanClean by Alex Hughes: Hughes’ Mindscape Investigations series introduces readers to a telepathic working with homicide detectives. It’s a mix of a lot of things. Science fiction, dystopia, police procedural, and more.

And hey, there are FOUR books in the series and a number of ebook shorts. The newest one, Vacant, will be out in December.

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov: The first in a series of novels from Asimov about Elijah Baley, a detective in New York City, and his robotic partner, R. Daneel Olivaw.

The world is overpopulated, a mess, and the cynical Baley has to help solve a murder of an off worlder.


thefuse_v1The Fuse, Vol. 1: The Russia Shift by Antony Johnston: Every now and again I stumble on a new comic on Wednesdays, thumbing through the new releases at my local comic shop, that jumps out and demands I take it home. Volume 1 of The Fuse, a series from Image Comics, was absolutely one of those.

Two detectives, working homicide, on an enormous city orbiting the earth. Originally built as a power station, it’s now houses over half a million citizens. Many of those who helped build the city are homeless and live in ducts and vents and the many nooks and crannies of the station. And one turns up murdered.

An incredibly exciting read that keeps you guessing.



Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: This classic sci-fi novel follows a bounty hunter, Rick Deckard, as he hunts down six advanced androids.

If this sounds incredibly familiar, and you haven’t read the book… well, that’s probably because you’ve seen Blade Runner. Which was loosely based on the book.

The City and The City by China Miéville: Two cities exist in the same exact place, but the citizens of each only see their city.

A detective, Inspector Tyador Borlu, has to look into a crime that hints at a rumored third city lurking in the shadows.


Now, as niche as the genre might be… there are certainly a lot more reads out there! Take to the comments, Book Riot readers. What are some of your favorites?


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