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WesternSFA


All Fixed Up
by Linda Grimes
Tor Books, 2016, $29.99, 322pp
Published: May 2016

Ciel Halligan, like most of her relatives and family friends, is able to take on the exact appearance of other people. Aural adapters naturally make very good spies, and several of them are employed by appropriate government agencies; but Ciel, who has a real talent for adopting the mannerisms as well as external linements of a person, has a private practice as a Facilitator – a fixer. If you really, really need to be in two places at once, she’ll be your alternate. Most of her assignments go smoothly, but sometimes situations develop that are problematic. On more than one occasion, it has proven to be a very good thing indeed that there are federal special agents among her circle of friends.

Ciel’s current job is covering for Dr. Philippa Carson, a NASA astronaut who has a secret crisis to deal with just as she has a huge publicity announcement to make in zero-gee. Ciel has to go through rigorous prep and then go weightless for her client, and she thinks she’s pulled it off reasonably well. So why is the photographer acting so suspicious of her? And why is he frequently spotted in the vicinity when her relatives start to die mysteriously – and horribly? The threat to the community of aural adaptors keeps getting darker and more deadly as Ciel and Billy Doyle try to figure out what’s going on.

Ciel’s personal life is complicated by the romantic triangle into which she finds herself repeatedly drawn. See, since childhood she’s has one of those soul-defining crushes on friend of the family and fellow aural adapter, CIA agent Mark Fielding, who for various reasons kept his distance and didn’t let on that he was attracted right back until she’d formed an attachment with her best frenemy Billy Doyle. Ciel loves both of them, and they both love her, and apparently nobody reads The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress anymore, which is a pity, because a line marriage is just what these people need. Ciel’s romantic complications are portrayed with a genuine regard for the forms love takes and how it affects us. This story takes the romantic triangle into new waters, and we get some surprising insights into the wherefores behind the whats.

Linda Grimes does an especially good job of informing new readers of what has gone before, so if this is your first Fix, you’ll be fine. And then you can happily order or track down the previous installments: In a Fix, Quick Fix, and The Big Fix. Heartily recommended to all who enjoy rom-com adventure. ~~ Chris Wozney

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