Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea

Kieran Shea's d├ębut novel after his fiction collection D*cked: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney, Koko Takes a Holiday is the story of Koko Martstellar, a brothel-owning mercenary who is enjoying her retirement on the Sixty Islands tropical resort archipelago renowned for the sex and violence - and synthetic komodo dragons. Koko is relaxing with hardly anything to do, so naturally something comes along to change things - Portia Delacompte sends her assassins to the island to kill her.

Set five-hundred years in the future, Koko has to leave the comfort of her island paradise to get on a sky barge of the Second Free Zone and befriends Flynn who has other more pressing matters on his mind. In the future, people can have neuro-social erasure therapy done on their memories. Delacompte decided on this years before her rise to power, though still she doesn't know why she wants Koko dead. It is clear from her memo that she has at her desk that all she had to do was hire her, make her welcome and then kill her. She knows she mist have had a good enough reason to kill her, but can't recall it and for conveniences sake thinks nothing more of it. Delacompte has her suspicions where Koko is headed, the Second Free Zone, where she sends her assassins to sort her out.

Elsewhere, Jed Flynn isn't having a good time. He's put in for his resignation from working security at AlaungPaya. His reason being he has Depressus, which affects 5.5% of the liberated citizens of the Second Free Zone, linking it to a type of Bipolar disorder characterised by mood swings due to the variance in high-altitude exposure in that zone. As a result of this diagnosis, Flynn wants a holiday too. He's a regular good guy who wasn't in the mood to continue working for the people who don't appreciate him (like his jerk of a lieutenant) and ponders how he will spend the last of his credits, not forgetting that there are people there worse off than him even if he has Depressus. The funny thing is, Flynn plans to end it all after one wild night, but when he offers his credits to Koko, he might have just hit the jackpot.

Two people who are down in the dumps about their lives suddenly get together. Koko thinks Flynn aught to know what she's like before he takes her along with him. Koko isn't used to other guys tagging on with her, she's only just getting over Delacompte betraying her. She would like to get even with her, but so far she'd prefer to dodge her to take a break from working for such a megalomaniac, backstabbing harpy.

Koko Takes a Holiday is a pulpy, fun, Japanese-themed futuristic start to a colourful series that looks like it has been taken straight out of a comic book. Being an ex-corporate mercenary means Koko's looking over her shoulder all the time, but with Flynn around, maybe she can get her life back the way it was before. Koko and Flynn make an interesting pair in a dystopian society where almost everyone who works for the AlaungPaya security services means no one is happy with their work, as most are coping with Depressus. A holiday like this one can cheer things up, the story is as much of an adventure as it is amusing. One-liners, put-downs as well as comic timing are the essentials here - can't wait for Koko the Mighty!