James Meade is a runabout who was born on Mars, this means that he does not bother himself with the politics of either power running things. In this case there is the Consortium, a fascist society that uses its citizens as virtual slaves based on whether they are born into wealth or not, and it is impossible to gain wealth if you are not born to it. The other side is the Coalition who claim to be better and allow for a democratic society, while you can pull yourself up to a higher standard before you can get there you must pay off the crushing debt you have been forced into. This is the world Jim lives in and still is unable to get away from.
When a Consortium engineer is found dead on Rosetta it is decided that Jim will do the investigation because of his neutrality. He is not given much of a choice in the matter and decides that if he has to do it he might as well get paid as much as possible. He figures it will be a simple job with little work involved and a good payday, but he has no idea of what is going on that asteroid far out in the belt. And what he does not know will likely get him killed.
For some reason Meade reminded me of Harry Dresden, not just because they were both P.I.’s but the way he dressed and the use of sarcasm and humor. This is a detective story in space with a noir feel. You have the female bar owner with a heart of gold, the femme fatale, the crime bosses, the crazy zealot wanting to save the world, and our detective who is less and more of hero than you expect him to be. All in all a good read but could have been even better with a more serious mystery.