Title: Zero Sum Game
Author: S. L. Huang
Genre: science fiction, thriller
Price: $4.99 (ebook)
Publisher: SL Huang
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
SL Huang works in the entertainment industry in Hollywood and has a degree in mathematics from MIT. This unusual mix leads to a really stunning first novel. Zero Sum Game stars Cas Russell, a math whiz turned mercenary. Cas uses her math skills to dodge bullets, out-leverage tough guy and general kick ass. Unfortunately for Cas, her skills bring her to the attention of an organization called Pithias. Even more unfortunate is that somebody appears to have a way to control Cas’ mind.
Zero Sum Game is a fast-paced action mystery, in which a surprisingly likable math whiz tries to get a handle on some exceptionally weird goings on in modern-day Los Angeles. Informed by S. L. Huang’s long residency in the city, the action feels reasonably realistic. Huang’s characters are not your average people, yet they are well-rounded, even (perhaps especially) the evil ones. There are no mustachio-twirling villains here.
This novel is a classic thriller – the stakes are no less than humanity itself. I purchased Zero Sum based on a review at Heroines of Fantasy and I’m pleased with my decision. The novel ends fairly, although we’re promised a thriller Half Life in 2015. I for one enjoyed Zero Sum and am looking forward to Half Life.