The future world of U.R.B. By James Cox is bleak. Mutated insects force people to wear spark suits and live alongside bug storms. Replacement therapy and CO/MA guns can erase a person's mind and remake it into a compliant member of society. A new gang is showing up on the nightly newsplay, the U.R.B., and they somehow have gotten a hold of CO/MA guns. Freelance agents Tarker Guth and Ned Fred are called in to investigate. When they finally uncover the identity of U.R.B. it only leads to more questions.
While set in a future society, U.R.B. has a heavy noir feel to it. At times I felt it went a bit overboard and drowned out the narrative, however. I also felt the plot got lost and confusing as Guth and Ned Fred untangle a conspiracy surrounding U.R.B. and its connection to an undercover police operation. I liked Guth (despite his sometimes over the top similes), but I just couldn't appreciate Ned Fred. He just seemed to have no personality outside of visiting prostitutes and being the opposite of Tuth.
U.R.B. by James Cox has an unusual view of the future. CO/MA guns, replacement therapy and mutant insects provide an interesting backdrop for the story, one that I wished had been explored in more depth. Unfortunately, I don't think it is enough to carry the story. I also got tired of the similes and often cryptic slang. Even though the ending was well done, the middle of the novel just got too confusing for me to follow. Overall, I was disappointed with U.R.B.
U.R.B. by James Cox
Published by CreateSpace
U.R.B. by James Cox is available at Amazon.com
My free review copy of U.R.B. was provided by the author.