I'm tired of reading great novels. It seems every speculative fiction novel that comes out is a sweeping epic, a political thriller, or tackles sociological issues through highly intense fiction. In today's science fiction, the action/adventure story is all but dead. Thus I was happy to encounter MD Benoit's Metered Space. This was precisely the fun-filled, action-packed, hard-boiled fiction I was looking for. It was fast, it was fun, it didn't engage too many of my brain cells and it was delightfully entertaining. After my recent four book epic fantasy spree, it was just what the doctor ordered.
At the center of Metered Space is Jack Meter, a hardboiled detective who smokes and drinks too much, which is fine, because he hasn't worked a case in two years-not since a bomb explosion killed his scientist girl friend at the lab where she worked. Yet destiny is not finished with Jack Meter.
When Jack wakes up, he finds himself halfway across the galaxy, guests of an alien race called the Thrittene, who wish to hire him to find an object that's been stolen from them. To repay him for his services, they repair his body of all the damage he'd done to it. Unfortunately, since Jack had been trying to die, he was most displeased with the arrangement.
Jack is going to have a ton of trouble solving this mystery, since the aliens who hired him apparently don't want him to know the truth about what's missing, who has it, or where to find it. Precisely the type of case Jack Meter thrives on.
Metered Space is a science fiction mystery that's fun to read. It's not a literary masterpiece, nor is it epic in scope, but it's a wonderful break from those serious deep books that require a huge investment in time and emotion.
As soon as I finish writing this review, I'm going to start on the sequel, Meter Made. I haven't had this much fun reading in a long time.
©2006 Steve Lazarowitz Novelspot
Jack Meter is a private investigator, or rather was —until the death of his wife, in an explosion in her lab, caused him to undergo a complete breakdown, and be committed to a mental institution. His life since release has not been the greatest, he has spent the time totally uncaring about his own medial health and determined to drink and smoke himself to death.
So his first reaction to being abducted by aliens and his body repaired of its damage is one of immense annoyance. He was looking forward to his death and the aliens took that away from him.
The Thrittene (the aliens who abducted him) need his help. Their reality is collapsing due to the actions of someone from Earth, who has been visiting various worlds and stealing items for an unknown purpose.
And as they are unable to leave their world, they need Meter to investigate this and prevent their doom. Only they are not the most rusting of races and are not telling Jack everything ? for instance what the link is between the events that are unfolding and the work and reason for the death of Jack's scientist wife.
And to help him with his investigation they have given him (or should I say implanted him with) a device that will allow him to move between the various worlds to track down the person who is responsible, and reverse the damage caused by his activities.
If you have ever read any noir novels this will feel familiar in several ways. The characters are not perfect hero types, in a number of ways they are not all that likeable, and bad things can happen to good people, and given how evil the book's villain is, bad things are going to happen.
The action is punchy with no spare flesh to the prose, and exactly as a first person narrative should be. When you are relating events in your head adding the detail of the colour and pattern design of the plant pots doesn't happen.
And this first person style is absolutely perfect to the noir genre. It's reminiscent of the Philip Marlowe style stories and wonderfully refreshing.
©2006 Steve Mazey The Eternal Night
Jack Meter is a PI with a situation. He wished that he was dead. He has spent the last two years grieving over a lover who was blown up in a lab explosion. Now Meter is being asked to investigate a theft. He doesn't want to do it but the client is really unusual. The client is an alien. This is what starts out Metered Space, a sci-fi mystery by M.D. Benoit. This novel is being published by Zumaya Publications, a small Canadian publishing house with a lot of great titles.
Jack has been abducted by a group of aliens. They have repaired his body and melded telepathically with him. Now they want Jack to find an item that was stolen from their world. If not found, the world in which they live in will be destroyed.
Traveling between Earth and the other world can be tricky. Jack is given a kinetic tether by the aliens. He can switch between the worlds using this device.
Jack is trying to figure who stole the portal that the aliens seem to need. He runs afoul of the cops, his girlfriend's old boss and her best friend. Jack also finds out that the aliens haven't exactly been truthful in what is really going on.
And to top if off, Jack keeps running into elements of his girlfriend Annie. She apparently had been doing something with the aliens before her lab blew up. Annie's essence is all over things that Jack gets into on this case.
What Jack initially believes is a conspiracy ends up being the demented plan of a madman. Can he stop the horrendous plot before the entire universe is destroyed?
Metered Space is an interesting and entertaining novel. It is both a science fiction novel and a mystery novel. M.D. Benoit has written a book that keeps you going, wanting to get to the end so that you know how everything turns out. Jack Meter is not so burned out that he can't solve the case. Or can he?
© 2005 Bruce E Von Stiers www.BVSReviews.com
Had Ray Chandler and Ray Bradbury teamed up, they might have produced a novel of dark dealings, mystery, humour, suspense and sheer out-of-this-world fantasy as entertaining and gripping as Metered Space.
The Ray-Team never was, so M. D. Benoit has bravely stepped in to fill the gap with a unique, dazzling novel which, within its first few pages, shows the reader that absolutely nothing is beyond belief in the hands of a talented author -- not even the idea of a hard-boozing private eye with the scruffiest office in town, a time machine instead of a wristwatch and clients in the fifth dimension!
So cleverly does Ms Benoit create her main character that within two pages, I felt I was reading of a favourite old friend in a well-established series. Clicking off the last page, I was already itching to read what he gets up to in the next Jack Meter adventure.
©2000 Neil Marr. Editor: BeWrite.net
"The night Annie died, I lost it. The city cops found me bleeding beside her body, fighting anybody who got too close. They say I screamed until my voice gave out. Then I started again."
Nothing helped the pain, not the booze, not the drugs, nothing helped. Jack Meter, former PI was slowly and methodically killing himself.
Nothing much mattered without Annie, not his job, not his life.
Recently released from six months in a psych ward, his sister fed up with him and no longer willing to keep him, Jack has no other choice but to go back home, his and Annie's. Before long he had finished off the Scotch and feeling sleepy . . .
"I opened my eyes to utter darkness; in the flash second it took for me to come fully awake, I knew I wasn't in my apartment."
What follows is a strange and wonderfull romp through the universe after Annie's Murderer. Reading this book I found myself alternating somewhere between horror and laughter. If you want to read a out of this world 'who done it' then this is the book for you. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who has a playfull sense of adventure. It also helps if you can shake yourself out of the ordinary everyday and open your mind to the maybe of other worlds and other possibilities. Benoit gets us in a wondering mode and keeps us confused and dazzeled to the very end.
Read this book, I give it five stars.
©2000 Linda Nelson All Rights Reserved.
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Private detective Jack Meter is a man on a mission. That mission is to drink himself to death. Shattered by the murder of his wife, Jack is using booze and tobacco to dull the pain until he can join her. Only something happens. He goes to sleep with a belly full of whiskey and wakes up Well, where he wakes up, and why, is the crux of this story. Jack wakes up on Thrittene, one of many worlds that he finds out exist in dimensions that parallel our own.The denizens of Thrittene want to hire Jack to find their missing “portal”. In the course of sobering him up so they can put the proposition to him, they heal two years of alcohol and tobacco abuse. Jack is not happy about this, but in the end is too intrigued by the problem to walk away. As he investigates the case, he finds out that there was more than one reason the aliens chose him to conduct their investigation. He finds out that his wife Annie, a scientist, had been to many of the other worlds accessible via the Thrittene technology before him. Annie had been keeping dangerous secrets. Jack comes to discover that his wife’s death had nothing to do with any case of his, but with her own scientific discoveries, and the insane colleague that wants them. Helped by his wife’s friend Claire, Jack races against time to unravel the mystery before his opponent destroys all the worlds linked through Thrittene, including our own.
Despite the occasional grim flashbacks to Annie’s murder and other murder scenes, this book is remarkably funny. The author takes the private eye genre, adds a science fiction twist, a dose of humor and a pinch of suspense to come up with a thoroughly enjoyable read. I give it four stars. I’d have given it five if the author could have managed the plot without so many coincidences. Jack’s detective work on Earth is plausible, but how he finds things out on other worlds is sometimes a little too pat. This is a nit, though. Overall, this was an entertaining book, well worth the time.
©2002 Gloria Magid
"An interesting challenge for a science fiction author is to so involve the reader so much that he/she suspends their own reality and accepts the events happening in the story as the new reality. If the author weaves a web that absorbs the readers into its coils, the author sighs and says "I've done it."
M. D. Benoit does this with skill, creating a world that touches as much on horror as science fiction. She grabs the reader's attention from the start, and refuses to let go until the last scene rolls off 217 pages later. I had intended to read the book over two days, instead I kept at it at one sitting, not turning my computer off until the very early hours of the morning.
This is a very interesting and enjoyable book and I recommend it to scifi, fantasy and horror fans that like tension and action coupled with a strong story line."
©2000 Alan M Brooker, http://www.igrin.co.nz/ambro Midnight Scribe Reviews
"Jack Meter ain't no Sam Spade, ya see, but he's one helluva private dick," said my gay cat Pico after reading M.D. Benoit's Meter Made (Zumaya Publications). Pico, as always, was right. Sam Spade got to bump around in Los Angeles playing with the small fry looking for treasure in clay falcons; Jack Meter gets to chase the big fish all over the known universe, including one or two unknown.
This is a fast-paced, hardboiled, non-stop, seat-of-your-pants, action-packed SciFi mystery that asks the question: Where's the damn brakes? It starts right off with a millionaire land baron wanting Meter to find his missing building. No, not gelding. You heard right: the man's building is missing, along with the lot it occupied and all the documentation that proved it ever existed, and, of course, the fourteen people who lived in it. Just the kind of case that's right up the alley for Douglas Adam's Dirk Gently, only Jack Meter, unlike Gently, doesn't wait for anything to happen. Like Sam Spade, he barges in and stirs things up to the boiling point and takes the action right in his face when it explodes all around him.
From the first novel in the series (Metered Space, Zumaya) Meter has a device melded to his arm by aliens that allows him to jump around Earth and the universe just by thinking about it. This comes in handy when you're just about to be arrested by the police in a house full of dead bodies, or leaving a room that's just about to blow up, or finding yourself on the receiving end of a hail of bullets from a woman you thought you might get it on with not much earlier.
Jack Meter is not one to stay out of trouble, and he doesn't. Single-handedly - well, with a few friends, some of whom can't stand him and others who try to kill him - he jumps into the middle of alien wars, universes on the edge of collapse, his best friend's wife's cooking, and a fog planet that nearly strips the flesh from his bones, all in pursuit of the missing building and the people who stole it. What he uncovers is a mind-boggling secret that threatens to change everything that we know into something we can't even imagine.
This is a great read for the beach, an evening with the boob tube turned off, or an afternoon by the barbecue and a cooler full of beer. It wastes no time getting to the action and keeping it up, something that's sorely missing in so many action stories these days. The universe of Jack Meter is full of weird creatures, danger at every turn, deadly beautiful women, side-slapping dialogue, and most of all, according to Pico, "action, Action, ACTION!"
©2006 Biff Mitchell
"My building is gone, Mr. Meter. I want you to get it back."
The short, balding man in the gray pinstripe suit wrung his hands and waited. I tried not to groan while I thought of a way to let him down gently. I was a private investigator not a repo man.
I glanced at Peter Winston, the lawyer who shared the house where I had my office, and who was also my landlord and friend. He leaned against the doorjamb pulling on his stogie and filling the room with blue smoke. He grinned then shrugged.
"I'll let you two gentlemen sort this out," he said. He closed the door softly behind him, leaving a pile of cigar ashes on the floor.
Lambert Garner is an unlikely-looking millionaire. He "looks like a rummy," but he's actually the owner of Garner Properties, Inc., which owns several buildings. And one of them's gone missing. It's not that it's gone and the land which it occupied is still there...both it and the land are gone, and its adjacent buildings are now right next to each other.,
Private investigator Jack Meter is not unused to such bizarre cases...just recently, at any rate. He's got an alien device in his wrist he calls a telecarb, which he can use to transport himself to different places...different planets. He's been on alien planets.
As he begins he meets a rival, an Intergalactic Agent, Neola Durvin, who also has that capability, although her transporter is an external device called a Universal System Integrator. (Benoit explains it all plausibly).
The two of them are investigating the same case..or at least the circumstances behind it. Someone, or something, is stealing material from one universe...and putting it somewhere else.
It turns out Jack Meter's own past actions (detailed in Metered Space) have brought about this possible destruction of the universe, and he must use all of his skills as he faces not only deadly aliens...but also...deadly humans...and his own deadly double.
Author M. D. Benoit writes with a sure hand, weaving plausible worlds together with ease. Jack Meter is an engaging character, with a sense of humor and a whole lot of problems, and he engages our sympathy from page one.
Meter Made is the second in the series featuring Meter, and Benoit cleverly does not give us a precis of exactly what happened in the first installment, Metered Space. Instead Meter mentions past incidets matter-of-factedly, so in addition to the mystery one keeps reading in the hopes of finding out more details about Meter's life. How did he get that "technocarb" device inserted into his wrist, who are the Thrittene he keeps mentioning, how did he meet them, and what happened to characters "Annie," and "Mueller." Benoit gives us hints throughout the book, as for example:
Terry was the only one, apart from Claire, who was aware of everything that had happened. He knew the real story behind Mueller, who'd been stealing, blowing up buildings and killing humans and aliens alike so he could build himself a universal soldier that just happened to look like my Annie. In the process, that sonofabitch had almost destroyed the universe, which is a lot bigger and weirder than anyone could imagine, and had unwittingly forced me to live with a piece of alien matter melded to my arm.
But Benoit doesn't fill in all of the gaps, and we really want to know exactly how all this came about!
Solution to the mystery: get Metered Space too!
©2006 Caroline Miniscule The Thunder Child
Jack Meter is known for taking strange cases. Therefore he is not very surprised when a client showed up in his office one day asking him to investigate a case of one of his buildings disappearing from the surface of the Earth. He wants Jack to find it and bring it back. Shortly after starting his investigation, the detective finds out that the case is much more serious than it seemed at first. It turns out that Jack has a double from another universe, who is a wicked person and soon gets the detective in a lot of trouble.
"Meter Made" by M.D Benoit is the second book in the series of Jack Meter Casefiles, following "Metered Space." Even though it is the second book in the series, you don't need to run to the store and get the first book to enjoy and understand the second one. The author introduces the main character again and tell as much as necessary for the reader not to feel lost and confused. The action starts almost instantly and keeps you interested right to the end. The author's imagination has no limits when explaining different techniques of teleportation or other worlds and creatures inhabiting them. He creates a very clear picture of the universe and all the various worlds within it.
Even though I haven't read many books from this genre, I'm getting to like it more and more, especially after reading books like this one. It was very enjoyable and quite fast paced. I thought the characters were well drawn and the lead, Jack Meter, was very likable. I think that the book will be a great treat for everyone who enjoys science- fiction and fantasy as well as suspense. I will myself look out for more adventures of Jack Meter.
©2006 Kornelia Longoria Reader Views
Note from author: Unfortunately, this reviewer was sent an advance copy which was missing the very last sentence of the book. This last sentence is the clincher and is the reason for the reviewer's frustration.
I really wanted to give this book 9 quills and almost did. It really is a nine quill book with only a single glaring problem that reduced it an entire quill in rating. I won't mention it this early in the review, for two reasons. First, I want my readers to approach this book with an open mind and second, it's the best way to insure that you read the rest of my review. I'm not writing this for myself you know.
If you've read my previous review of Metered Space (if you haven't you really should), you'd know that I really enjoyed the first book in this series, particularly the character Jack Meter, the hardboiled detective who ends up involved with a bevy of exotic aliens.
Meter Made takes over where Metered Space left off. It's a continuation of the same story with some of the same characters, lots of new characters, and a fantastically whimsical setup that I will share with you now.
Jack Meter is approached by a man who has made his entire fortune in real estate, particularly by buying buildings. This man comes to Jack, because Jack is strange enough to be interested in this case, which would leave most people thinking him mad. Jack is hired to find a missing building.
It's not actually as if the building has disappeared. The very space where it existed is gone too-the bank and restaurant that had previously existed on either side of the building are now adjacent. Not only has the building disappeared, but there is no record of it having ever existed. This is a case for Jack Meter.
Jack's investigation involves him again with a bevy of aliens and a beautiful IGA Agent (think of a galactic CIA), who knows more than she's saying. If anything, I enjoyed Meter Made more than Metered Space, until the very end of the book, which is where I had trouble.
Meter Made ends right in the middle of a scene-literally. I'd have thought I was missing pages if it didn't have the words "to be continued" at the bottom of my screen (yes I read the ebook version).
Many books in series end without a final conclusion and I have no problem with that, assuming I knew I was reading a series and expected it to happen. But even then, the books have some sort of conclusion, even if it's one I don't care for. Meter Made did in fact have a conclusion, but continued just far enough past that to make me believe the book was going to continue, when suddenly it ended.
I might not have minded as much if the next book in the series were available, but alas it's not. This frustrated me enough to reduce its rating by a single quill, which had nothing at all do to with my enjoyment of the book for the entire time I read it.
Meter Made is enjoyable, funny, entertaining, well written, and eccentric enough to be well worth the read. But the ending was so abrupt, it left me feeling dissatisfied, something I can't abide when paying good money for a book (so it's a good thing I got a review copy for free).
Still, this shouldn't be a deterrent not to read Meter Made. Had I been braced for that ending, I'd have applauded the author's audacity for daring to do that to me. In fact, the way it ended itself, while dissatisfying, wasn't without a certain vicious humor of its own, as if the author knew exactly where he left me, and the effect his lack of an ending would have.
One last word: while this book can be enjoyed on its own, I highly recommend you start with Metered Space first, so you get a feel for the characters and the twisted universe created by MD Benoit. Either way, you won't be disappointed, now that I've prepared you for the end.
©2006 Steve Lazarowitz Novelspot