I Only Killed Him Once

I Only Killed Him Once

A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective: the newest stand-alone installment in the Ray Electromatic mystery seriesAnother Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling disco...

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Title:I Only Killed Him Once
Author:Adam Christopher
Rating:

I Only Killed Him Once Reviews

  • Kurt Rocourt

    Once again I find myself enjoying this series. I actually raced through book 1.5 and book 2 to get to this one. It blurs together for me at the moment. I'm glad it did because all three feel like three episodes of my favorite show. I don't see any reason to not keep reading more stories in this series.

    I read this book via NetGalley. I thank them for this book.

  • Bradley

    So very, very enjoyable. Ray Electromatic is the Robot's Robot of the dirty streets of LA Noir. Sometimes he's a PI and sometimes he's a hit-robot-for-hire, but what makes him really stand out for me is his memory issues.

    He runs on RAM. Poor Ray! Every day, he comes back with the same template as before. Useful when he needs plausible deniability, it's a real pain when the damn mysteries keep coming back. And back. And back. :)

    This one has a lot of fantastic reveals and snappy dialogue. Ada, the

    So very, very enjoyable. Ray Electromatic is the Robot's Robot of the dirty streets of LA Noir. Sometimes he's a PI and sometimes he's a hit-robot-for-hire, but what makes him really stand out for me is his memory issues.

    He runs on RAM. Poor Ray! Every day, he comes back with the same template as before. Useful when he needs plausible deniability, it's a real pain when the damn mysteries keep coming back. And back. And back. :)

    This one has a lot of fantastic reveals and snappy dialogue. Ada, the master computer who gives Ray his jobs, is out of the picture for a lot of the tale and Ray has to figure out who the next Job is on his own! Who does he have to kill?

    Oh, the nightmare!

    Of course, I was just happy that it could have been anyone because this is classic Noir, but the final reveal was very satisfying. And very SF. :)

    I'm LOVING this kind of genre-mashup. Big time. The best of both worlds.

    And I'm probably going to have to scream for more of this. It can't end here. We have to have MORE. :)

    Sladek, Wells, Martinez... we need more like this!!! :)

  • Literary Portals

    Review originally published on my blog:

    "I Only Killed Him Once" is the final book in the "Ray Electromatic Mysteries" series. Each book is mostly a self-contained story but in all there is a recurring, and as yet unresolved, mystery subplot surrounding Ada, Ray's AI supercomputer handler and manager of the Electromatic Detective Agency. In the previous book ("Killing is My Business") Ray started to question Ada's real motives and goals

    Review originally published on my blog:

    "I Only Killed Him Once" is the final book in the "Ray Electromatic Mysteries" series. Each book is mostly a self-contained story but in all there is a recurring, and as yet unresolved, mystery subplot surrounding Ada, Ray's AI supercomputer handler and manager of the Electromatic Detective Agency. In the previous book ("Killing is My Business") Ray started to question Ada's real motives and goals. His memory is sketchy at best and only good for 24 hours, but his instinct tells him Ada is keeping important secrets from him and probably shouldn't be trusted. There's also a giant plot hole from book #1 that I'm hoping will finally be explained in this final volume.

    For Raymond Electromatic every morning is a fresh start, "another beautiful day in Hollywood California". With a memory tape wiped clean every 24 hours and no knowledge of what happened on any previous day, Ray is fully dependent on his handler Ada, the AI supercomputer who runs the Electromatic Detective Agency, to update him on the necessary details of each hit job he's assigned to. But a chest plate that looks out of place, a shirt button that refuses to stay buttoned and cryptic messages in his own handwriting, scribbled on a used yellow legal pad with half the pages missing, leads him to suspect Ada may be keeping important information from him.

    When a mysterious man in black comes into the office one morning with an ominous warning instead of a job, Ray has the distinct feeling he's a target he's met before. Only Ada isn't talking and urges him to forget the whole thing instead. But after the Electromatic Detective Agency gets raided and Ada disappears, dismantled by the supposedly defunct DORL (Department of Robot Labor), Ray finds himself truly on his own. With his memory tape on the verge of filling up, Ray is quickly running out of time to find his real target and solve the case, before he shuts down permanently.

    "I Only Killed Him Once" is the last book in the "Ray Electromatic Mysteries" series (including a trilogy of novels and 2 extra novelettes). The story comes full circle to both the first novelette and the first novel, picking up characters and events from "Brisk Money" and "Made to Kill". It answers some of the lingering questions left open in the previous installments and wraps up the mystery surrounding both Ray and Ada, their origins and relationship, with fantastic reveals.

    But it can still be read as a standalone though, since it includes enough detailed recaps that you don't actually need to read the previous books. The author makes use of Ray's unique characterization to insert those recaps in a way that fits the plot, without sounding like an info dump exposition. Being set in an alternate 1960's Hollywood with the technological limitations of that time, Raymond's internal memory only has room for 24 hours of existence, by which time Ray needs to transfer all the data collected to bigger, more permanent reel tapes, while his own unit gets wiped clean and reset. It does make for a repetitive narrative, but again, it's part of the nature of this particular character so it feels natural even if a little annoying. I still recommend you read the rest of the series, a recap isn't as deeply detailed as a full novel.

    The main character, Raymond Electromatic, is fully fledged and 3-dimentional. Despite his robotic nature, the author gives him enough human mannerisms inherited from the mental templates of his creators to act human, helping us relate with the character. His unique voice with witty dialogs, introspective musings and deductive reasoning delivers a lot of snarky humor to the plot.

    Similar to the previous books, "I Only Killed Him Once" is meant as an homage to Raymond Chandler's noir mysteries, with a classic sci-fi twist in the form of a robot private-detective-turned-hitman when his AI supercomputer handler decides the assassination business is much more lucrative. While the previous volumes were more oriented towards the noir genre, this third book has more sci-fi elements, but still wrapped up in the pulp detective mystery and moody atmosphere of the 1960's Hollywood. The plot is complex and well thought through with plenty of twists and turns. With a fast pace filled with action and mystery, the author throws us so many curve balls you're kept guessing until the last page.

    5 of 5 stars

    "I Only Killed Him Once" is an excellent and satisfying conclusion to the "Ray Electromatic Mysteries" series. A thrilling, engaging and humorous mix of noir mystery and classic sci-fi, recommended for those who enjoy hard-boiled novels and robot stories, in atmospheric 1960's Hollywood.

  • Kate (Looking Glass Reads)

    Today, July 10, 2018, marks the release of

    by Adam Christopher, the third and final novel in the Ray Electromatic Mysteries series. This is a great science fiction noir mystery series featuring the very last robot in operation working as a hit man using the cover of a private detective when unwanted eyes begin to pry.

    In this novel Ray Electromatic wakes up with a fresh reel of tape for 24 hours of new memory and a man in a black hat in the front room. The man feels familia

    Today, July 10, 2018, marks the release of

    by Adam Christopher, the third and final novel in the Ray Electromatic Mysteries series. This is a great science fiction noir mystery series featuring the very last robot in operation working as a hit man using the cover of a private detective when unwanted eyes begin to pry.

    In this novel Ray Electromatic wakes up with a fresh reel of tape for 24 hours of new memory and a man in a black hat in the front room. The man feels familiar, even if Ray can’t remember him. He comes with a warning, not a job. If something’s amiss Ada, the supercomputer who runs things, isn’t talking. Things quickly go for bad to worse as Ray’s memory ticks down to zero.

    This was a great conclusion to the Ray Electromatic Mysteries series. Ray is just as fantastic a character as always. His voice is unique, and he a genuinely fun character to follow on adventures. This particular case proves to be a difficult one as things quickly spiral beyond Ray’s control.

    Ada is missing for a good portion of the novel. This means that Ray is truly on his own. The well timed phone calls from Ada are gone. Details to the hit Ray’s supposed to be carrying out are largely missing. Ray is forced to figure things out completely on his own, going back to earlier days when he worked as a PI. This is complicated due to limited memory space. If he knew more details yesterday it was all wiped when a new reel was installed during the night.

    All loose ends are wrapped up in this third novel. Questions that have lingered from book one are finally addressed. We get more information as to Ray’s creation and the various robotics divisions encountered in the previous two novels.

    Now, I don’t want to say too much about this novel. The books in this series are on the shorter side of the page count, and being the last of three novels room for accidental spoilers abounds. Needless to say, I very much enjoyed this series. Ray is a very welcome voice, a fun, hardboiled detective with a great personality. He’s very reminiscent of old noir film detectives, a feeling that permeates each book. the novels themselves are very atmospheric.

    I must acknowledge the author’s sheer skill in making Ray and Ada so very likeable and relatable. They’re nothing more than a robot and a supercomputer, after all, even if they were patterned after humans. The way in which the virtual clink of a spoon in a ceramic cup can fill a silence and relay the feelings of a character is absolutely wonderful.

    Though the Ray Electromatic Mysteries may be over, I am surely going to be seeking out more of Adam Christopher’s books. If you have not read any of the Ray Electromatic Mysteries, I would highly suggest picking up the first book of the series. Unlike some of the other mystery novels I’ve read, I do suggest reading these books in publication order.

    by Adam Christopher was a great conclusion to the series, and a book I highly recommend.

  • Jane

    Well this was a lot of fun! Ray Electromatic is a robot detective-turned-gun-for-hire. Unfortunately for Ray, he lives in an alternate 1960s universe which means that some of his technology is not terribly advanced. With the exception of some hardwired memories, Ray relies on a 24-hour reel of memory tape, so each day he starts with a relatively clean slate.

    Imagine an old-fashioned, not-nearly-so-misanthropic Murderbot thrown into the movie Memento. Knowing that he can only trust Ada, his compu

    Well this was a lot of fun! Ray Electromatic is a robot detective-turned-gun-for-hire. Unfortunately for Ray, he lives in an alternate 1960s universe which means that some of his technology is not terribly advanced. With the exception of some hardwired memories, Ray relies on a 24-hour reel of memory tape, so each day he starts with a relatively clean slate.

    Imagine an old-fashioned, not-nearly-so-misanthropic Murderbot thrown into the movie Memento. Knowing that he can only trust Ada, his computerized boss, Ray "lives" a life carrying out the jobs she hands him. When a tall man in a dark hat gives Ray a mysterious warning, Ray must try to solve the most important mystery of his career and figure out who wants to take him out before he gets got.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this read and I'm planning on getting to the other books in the series as soon as I can. I hadn't realized this was the third (and final) instalment in the series until after I'd started reading, but I definitely didn't feel like I was missing anything. This definitely did get a bit repetitive at certain points -- there's only so many times you need to be told that the guy doesn't remember stuff from the day before, but for the most part that did not prevent me from enjoying the story.

  • Pamela Scott

    (copy from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed)

    This is my first time reading the author. I haven’t read the other two books in the series. The blurb sounded interesting and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the concept of the book and thought it was very original. I loved the character of Ray. He’s a robot who runs on RAM and every day he starts with the same template as before so he remembers nothing of the previous day and is unaware the same mysteries k

    (copy from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed)

    This is my first time reading the author. I haven’t read the other two books in the series. The blurb sounded interesting and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the concept of the book and thought it was very original. I loved the character of Ray. He’s a robot who runs on RAM and every day he starts with the same template as before so he remembers nothing of the previous day and is unaware the same mysteries keep coming up again and again. This was also quite sad at times. You know an author has written good stuff when you feel sympathy for a robot. I enjoy Noir fiction and this was very well done. I definitely want to read the other books in the series.

  • Maine Colonial

    Thanks to the publisher, Tor, for providing a free digital ARC via Netgalley.

    Say it ain’t so: the last Ray Electromatic novel. I don’t care if he is a robot—and a hit man—he’s a more appealing character than plenty of sci-fi or mystery protagonist.

    Ray’s tape-based memory is only good for 24-hours, so he starts every day with no memory of what happened previously. He only has his deep programming to rely on, along with his instructions from his boss, Ada. Ray’s decided this just isn’t good enough

    Thanks to the publisher, Tor, for providing a free digital ARC via Netgalley.

    Say it ain’t so: the last Ray Electromatic novel. I don’t care if he is a robot—and a hit man—he’s a more appealing character than plenty of sci-fi or mystery protagonist.

    Ray’s tape-based memory is only good for 24-hours, so he starts every day with no memory of what happened previously. He only has his deep programming to rely on, along with his instructions from his boss, Ada. Ray’s decided this just isn’t good enough, so he’s taken to making notes and stashing them places.

    I can’t say much about the plot without spoilers, but let’s just say that

    . It’s a neat little thriller of a plot that would make an entertaining movie, and the writing is snappy.

    Even though the Ray Electromatic books are described as a mashup of sci-fi and mystery, I’d say they’re more on the side of hardboiled mystery. The fact of Ray’s technology is only a big deal in a character way; it’s not like a tech-heavy space opera or anything. There are three Ray Electromatic novels, as well as a prequel short story and a novella. Here they are, in order:

    Brisk Money (Ray Electromatic #0.5) [prequel short story]

    Made to Kill (Ray Electromatic #1)

    Standard Hollywood Depravity (Ray Electromatic #1.5) [novela]

    Killing Is My Business (Ray Electromatic #2)

    I Only Killed Him Once (Ray Electromatic #3)

  • All Things Urban Fantasy

    Review courtesy of

    .

    As the final novel in the Ray Electromatic series, I ONLY KILLED HIM ONCE goes out with a bang. Our favourite robot assassin is on the case and wouldn’t you know it, his memory is on the fritz. I ONLY KILLED HIM ONCE tackles the plot threads of Ray’s creation, his friendship with Ada, and his faulty memory. In the other novels, Ray is looking for his mark and searching for missing pieces of his day. In this novel, Ray spends most of the plot trying to

    Review courtesy of

    .

    As the final novel in the Ray Electromatic series, I ONLY KILLED HIM ONCE goes out with a bang. Our favourite robot assassin is on the case and wouldn’t you know it, his memory is on the fritz. I ONLY KILLED HIM ONCE tackles the plot threads of Ray’s creation, his friendship with Ada, and his faulty memory. In the other novels, Ray is looking for his mark and searching for missing pieces of his day. In this novel, Ray spends most of the plot trying to orient himself. It keeps Ray reacting and investigating, but never truly puts him on the offensive.

    In the previous novels, it was easy to mistrust Ada. When the reader knows more than the protagonist, it’s difficult to root for the person, or robot, in charge of Ray’s memory tapes. I really wished that the author had leaned into this deceit and power imbalance. The repeat customer, with an endless supply of black hats, was an interesting mystery but, when solved, never dealt with the implications. With all the resources and money that Ray’s enemies seem to possess, it’s startling that they hid so long in the shadows.

    As always the memory loops are the real charm of the novel, as Ray restarts every day the same way. It’s a great joke that always pays off. I ONLY KILLED HIM ONCE was a fun end to the series but I couldn’t help wishing for more a more interesting end for Ray. Weird clients, bad memory, and half-truths are all part of the robot assassin's normal day, I would have loved to see this taken to the extreme.

  • Ruth

    c2018 (21) FWFTB: mission, memory tape, stranger, warning. Strangely, after the first 2 books, this came as somewhat of a disappointment. The quote in the front of the book kind of gives a clue. I felt that, whilst the writing style was as interesting as ever, the plot somehow got away from the author. Perhaps the premise could be maintained for two books but the third was a bit of a push and probably had more to do with contractual requirements than a desire to close out the character/plot. To

    c2018 (21) FWFTB: mission, memory tape, stranger, warning. Strangely, after the first 2 books, this came as somewhat of a disappointment. The quote in the front of the book kind of gives a clue. I felt that, whilst the writing style was as interesting as ever, the plot somehow got away from the author. Perhaps the premise could be maintained for two books but the third was a bit of a push and probably had more to do with contractual requirements than a desire to close out the character/plot. To the members of the crew that have read the first two - you don't have to read this one. "

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