Killing Is My Business

Killing Is My Business, the sequel to 2015’s Made to Kill, takes place in L.A. circa 1965, and it’s redolent with midcentury charm. The book’s protagonist, Raymond Electromatic, is an assassin who operates out of his investigator’s office, spending his free time reading lurid sci-fi novels. Raymond has a better reason than most for gravitating toward science fiction: He’s a robot.

Isaac Asimov’s First Law of Robotics, coined in 1942, states that “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” But Asimov never knew Christopher’s alternate-history version of L.A. — a retro-futurist metropolis where robots are already obsolete, Raymond is the last of his kind, and danger lurks behind every gleaming yet seedy corner. His latest case is a potboiler involving Mafia dons, killer thugs, and, of course, a femme fatale, but it’s Raymond’s rasping, charismatic voice that carries the story. “I was good at my job. I was programmed to be,” he admits with a mix of pride and sorrow. Cursed with a memory that erases itself every 24 hours, he approaches L.A. every morning as if it’s a new city, ripe for discovery — and disillusionment.

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