The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel focuses on the character of Kobo. Kobo is a scout for baseball teams and has very much fallen on hard times. He’s addicted to erasers (cigarettes that numb the body), he’s in deep debt having spent money he doesn’t have on body modifications, and as a result of this he’s being chased by loan sharks who he owes a debt too. Could it get any worse? Well yeah it does when his brother J.J. Zunz is killed whilst playing on the field during a baseball game. Kobo is hired by his brothers team the Monsanto Mets to find the killer and enters even deeper into the world of body modifications and genetics.
I am a huge fan of books set in the future that really open your eyes to humanity and corporations who take advantage of human beings. Genetic modification is a huge part of the story, humans have brought back extinct creatures such as dinosaurs and even neanderthals. Climate change has also gotten worse as people are developing lung diseases as a result of air pollution. As Kobo looks deeper into his brothers death, he discovers someone is using genetics to make clones and other seedy ventures. Basically, on the surface people have all this technology and are loving its use, but they aren’t realizing the impact it’s having on them and the world.
Another thing I felt the novel does well in is highlighting how down right greedy pharmaceutical companies are. Many of the baseball teams are sponsored/owned by huge pharma companies who test their medicine on players and unwilling individuals. Don’t get me wrong I love modern medicine but one thing I despise is how it’s not readily available to people in the real world due to the extortionate pricing. I could go on and on about this but maybe for another time.
When considering the world building, Michel has definitely hit a home run (I’m sorry I had to) when it comes the future he’s created in this novel. I pictured movies like Altered Carbon and Blade Runner when I was reading this book. The book takes place in a future New York where technology is definitely at it’s more advanced and continues to grow. Many of the characters have some type of enhancement. For example Kobo has a bionic arm, his lover interest Dolores who is deaf wears goggles that allows what people are saying to be synced in real time. She could get replacement ears but decides not to. Pharma companies have also brought back neanderthals who to be honest are being treated improper and are used merely for muscle and hard labour. It paints a picture of what is an already dark world we live in. Don’t get me wrong advancements in technology is fantastic, but not so much when it’s being used to harm rather than heal.
As a character Kobo was excellent and I loved learning about him. He’s been through so much and life is not giving him a break whatsoever. This guy literally loses an arm and leg on multiple occasions as he struggles to find out who killed his brother. In saying that though he’s not helping himself by continuing to spend money he doesn’t have on enhancement parts. In terms of side characters, I loved the character of Dolores who is scout for a rival team. Her and Kobo go way back and I really loved the dynamic of their relationship. At first you think she won’t help Kobo but as they get closer again she starts to warm to Kobo again. Another brilliant side character was Lila who although is twelve years old had a huge presence and impact on the story. I’m not going to go too much into her character to avoid spoilers but she plays a key part to Kobo’s journey in finding Zunz killer. Lila’s dialogue was hilarious and I loved how direct and how she put Kobo in his place. Lila is also part of a group known as “The Edinists” who don’t believe in body modifications, or technology being used to create animals. Two other memorable characters were twin loan enforcers Brenda and Wanda. Throughout the story they attempt to make Kobo pay off his debt which often ended in grisly fashion. My favourite part was the fight between them and Cornelius, a neanderthal who works for Monsanto. The fight sequence was amazing and i could picture everything happening before my eyes.
Overall, Lincoln Michel has written a class story that I devoured pretty quickly. There are so many memorable moments in this novel that I want to read it again at some point. The writing was top notch and I loved the mix of cyberpunk, noir, and sci-fi elements. I really do hope that we see more books set in the same world because I loved it and was sad when i finished the book. So here’s to more Kobo please! Thank you Orbit and Angela for sending me a copy. I appreciate you infinitely 🥰.