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Okay, take a planet in the far future, populate it with hundreds of alien species including humans, throw in lots of cyberpunk tech, sprinkle in some Raymond Chandler type goons, and have lurking Lovecraftian monsters in the background for a bit more flavouring, and what you get has a name: Punktown.

Punktown is a highly imaginative and enthralling setting by talented dark fiction author, Jeffrey Thomas, and Red Cells is the latest book in this series.

The protagonist is a private detective mutant shapeshifter whose handle is Jeremy Stake, a hero of Thomas’ previous novels Deadstock and Blue War. Stake has fallen on hard times, and he takes a job masquerading as another man in a high security prison just to make ends meet. This shows you just how desperate Punktown is for most residents, and why it is ripe for so many stories.

What I like about Red Cells is how genres blend so well and so seamlessly. Most authors who tackle weird fiction do so from the fantasy viewpoint, but few can do so well using science fiction tropes. Thomas is one such author who can. For instance, the walls of this prison are not made of any matter known to humans; in fact it exists in its own miniature-sized universe. There is literally nowhere for inmates to escape to.

The story rolls along at an exciting pace, there is tension and intrigue dripping on the reader at every turn, and I was hooked.

Want some fun weird cyberpunk fusion to pass an evening on the couch? Then go no further than Red Cells.

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