Review of Robert R. Chase, “Assassin in the Clouds”, Asimov’s Science Fiction January/February 2018: 112-128 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Kiera Lesley.
Phil Fogg is working undercover as a travel writer and attempting to prevent the assassination of Dr Takashi Kamiji on a cruise ship – the Francesco Lana de Terzi – floating through the clouds on no set course except the will of the winds. Fogg must keep tabs on Kamiji, try to find the would-be assassin who is resorting to increasingly more volatile methods, and figure out why anyone would want to kill Kamiji in the first place.
This novelette has a good sequence of action events and the setting is unique while still holding a classic ‘whodunnit’, closed room (or, in this case, boat) scenario. We spend a lot of time with Fogg trying to work the case throughout the ship and it keeps the narrative humming along nicely between assassination attempts and fight scenes. The one problem I had with it was that Fogg was almost too competent and I felt this weakened the threats to Kamiji’s safety.