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  • Writer's pictureMilton Davis

Book Review: Collected-A Cybil Lewis Sci-Fi Mystery Collection

I'll start this review with the description posted by the author to give you a feel for this excellent collection.

'Before the Change, before Jane, and before she became a badass PI, Cybil Lewis cut her teeth in the District as a solo, private inspector. At last, these tales from her early years have been collected into a single volume of short stories and novellas. Offering beautiful illustrations by brilliant comic book artist, Julia Lacquement (DC Comics), Collected: A Cybil Lewis SF Mystery Collection provides action-packed, mystery stories set in the futuristic territory of D.C. (the District).Whether this is your first time meeting Cybil or you are a long-time fan, this collection should be a part of yours.You won't be disappointed. '

And I wasn't. Nicole has created an interesting and complex character in Cybil Lewis and built and equally interesting and complex world in which she lives. Her world in a fractured United States slowly pulling itself out of the ruins of war. Cybil resides in the District, the area once known as Washington, D.C. and the capital of the now non-existent nation. The country is divided into territories, each with its own government and agenda. Cybil works as a private investigator, taking on cases and clients the local law enforcement won't or can't get involved in. She deals with a variety of characters, some human, others not so much. All the while Nicole gives us glimpses of this dystopian landscape through Cybil and the others; humans, cyborg or something in between.

Cybil's world reminds me of the world of Strange Days, except that Cybil, a Black woman, is the main character and her life is the focus of the story. This is a rare thing in the cyberpunk genre, and it's one of the things that makes this story collection so interesting. Cybil's personality is revealed to us not in infodumps, but in how she interacts with her world and the others around her, so I found myself unraveling the mystery of the character as she solved her cases. Nicole gives us just enough, but not everything, which makes you eager for the next story so you can learn more about Cybil and her world.

If I asked for anything more from this series, it would be for Cybil to travel beyond the District so as a reader I could learn more about her world. But that's just me being selfish. This is a great collection of stories and a good introduction to the character if you haven't read the novels, which I suggest you do.

Click the link below to get your copy of Collected, and make sure you check out other titles by Nicole.

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