I walked into Gunpowder Moon thinking of it as a mystery, but it is really more of a thriller. It benefits the most from the strength of the lead—Caden Dechert—and the carefully drawn vision of a plausible future on the moon.
Every lunar walker since Apollo 11 has noticed it: a burnt-metal scent that reminds them of war. Caden Dechert, chief of U.S. mining operations on the edge of the Sea of Serenity, thinks the smell is just a trick of the mind—a flashback to his harrowing days as a marine in the war-torn Middle East back on Earth.
It’s 2072, and lunar helium-3 mining is powering the fusion reactors bringing Earth back from environmental disaster. But competing for the richest prize in the history of the world has destroyed the oldest rule in space: safety for all. When a bomb kills one of Dechert’s diggers on Mare Serenitatis, the haunted veteran goes on the hunt to expose the culprit before more blood is spilled.
As he races to solve the first murder in the history of the Moon, Dechert gets caught in the crosshairs of two global powers spoiling for a fight. Reluctant to be the match that lights this powder keg, Dechert knows his life and those of his crew are meaningless to the politicians. Even worse, he knows the killer is still out there, hunting.
In his desperate attempts to prevent the catastrophe he sees coming, Dechert uncovers a conspiracy that, with one spark, can ignite a full lunar war, wipe out his team . . . and perhaps plunge Earth back into darkness.