What’s That Book? Surreality by Ben Trube

I’d like to welcome Kathleen Le Dain as a contributor to What’s That Book.

Hi Everyone! Today I’d like to welcome Berthold Gambrel, today’s contributor to What’s That Book. Thank you, Berthold!


Author: Ben Trube

Genre: Mystery / Science Fiction       

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What’s it about? Detective Daniel Keenan is assigned to investigate the virtual murder of the co-founder of a massively multi-player online game, Surreality. Although the crime takes place in cyber-space, it has real-world ramifications. As Keenan pursues the culprit, things begin to escalate in deadly ways. To make matters worse, aspects of Keenan’s own past continue to haunt him as he furiously works to solve the case.

I love how the book mixes tropes of an old-fashioned noir mystery with modern day technology like computer games. Keenan and his partner Caliente are likable characters, and in a book like this, where there is a whole secondary “virtual” world in which much of the action takes place, it’s important that the reader has relatable characters to keep them grounded.

There are a number of minor characters in the book who help to fill in the details of the world of Surreality and explain how the online game was created. As in any good noir detective story, there’s intrigue, backstabbing, and even a bit of romance. In the notes, the author mentions how the book was influenced by Isaac Asimov’s classic novel The Caves of Steel in terms of mixing mystery and science-fiction, and I would say that the comparison is definitely a good one. Anyone who enjoys sci-fi or detective stories should give this a read.

How did you hear about it? I follow the author’s blog and discovered the book there. Also, although we have never met, the author and I both live in Columbus, Ohio, which is also where Surreality is set, so that made me even more interested in it.

Closing comments: I’ve read this book four times, and I think it holds up very well even knowing how it will turn out. It’s not just about how the plot unfolds. The real fun of the book is in the characters and setting.

Contributor: Berthold Gambrel is a blogger and author. You can read his blog at https://ruinedchapel.com

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7 thoughts on “What’s That Book? Surreality by Ben Trube

  1. I’ve always stayed close to memoir and non-fiction. But this is the year I’ve expanded my reading to mystery and even science fiction. As I’ve noting in the interview, reading the book 4 times is high praise indeed.

    Thanks for introducing me to this author and book, Barbara! 😀

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