Third Claw of God by Adam-Troy Castro
Andrea Cort became a "war criminal" at the age of eight when an unexplained darkness invaded her soul.
Now, decades later, the Devil is calling her.
Employed by the Diplomatic Corps but secretly aiding the AI masters of the universe, Counselor Andrea Cort despises the powerful Bettelhines—unrepentant death merchants who have prospered from the annihilation of civilizations. Now curiosity compels her to answer a cryptic summons to their home world, where the only law is Bettelhine law. But a murder attempt greets her arrival at Xana's orbital entry port—and far graver peril awaits aboard the elevator transport meant to carry Andrea to the planet's surface.
Trapped miles above Xana—surrounded by suspicious Bettelhines, their slavishly loyal retainers . . . and a corpse liquefied by a 15,000-year-old weapon—Andrea must unmask an assassin or die an equally hideous death. But the true reason for her summons—and sordid secrets weaving through her own dark past—threaten to destroy Andrea Cort more completely than the Claw of God.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Classic "Murder on the Orient Express" as done in space with a few nicely done plot twists. The dialog really pulled this one along - not much for description but when the characters are moving between three rooms there is only so much to describe.
Where I felt this lacked was in the characters and this could have been because there was so much dialog that introspection was kept to a minimum. Andrea kept having these huge personal insights, but from my point of view they were more like "yeah, duh...". The "Inner Family" was portrayed as being monsters to the universe, but I never really felt that came across, and perhaps that was because our sympathies were directed toward the siblings. There is one revelation toward the end that I won't discuss here, that did contribute to the "monster" syndrome, but it was almost too late in the book to effectively work.
So, if you liked Emissaries from the Dead, and don't mind a murder-mystery in space with a lot of talky-talky, then you will probably enjoy The Third Claw of God.
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