Red Team Blues is a fun "ripped from the headlines" romp

A couple weeks ago, I got a copy of Cory Doctorow's new novel Red Team Blues, and after reading about a third of it the first night I had it, I ended up switching over to the audiobook, and listened in one eight hour stretch during a road trip to California the next day.

First thoughts: I love love love that Cory made the main character into a sort of most unlikely of all superheroes: he's an older guy that has spent his life working as a high-stakes forensic accountant. I can't believe I was hanging onto every word of what an accountant was doing but I was transfixed the whole way.

It kind of reminded me of the movie Nobody with Bob Odenkirk as an unconventional action hero. And hey, if two nerds like Paul Rudd and Kumail Nanjiani can be in the Marvel universe as superheroes, having a forensic accountant being a star of your sci-fi/mystery novel is totally fair game.

The audiobook was read by Will Wheaton and he leans into it, doing different voices for each character and generally bringing a lot of personality to the material. Personally, I loved every minute of it, but I know some folks might be turned off by an audiobook narrator giving it their all and might prefer a drier telling of the story. Depends on what you come to expect from audiobooks but I couldn't imagine a better version.

Without dropping too many spoilers, I'll just say I enjoyed the book and I'm stoked to hear there are already sequels in the publishing pipeline since I could see this character being a fun unlikely star of an entire series. Like any mystery book, I could read the adventures of this hero doing pretty much anything.

The story is less far-off sci-fi than Cory's other works, and instead it's kind of a cryptocurrency-adjacent story that could have happened in the last few months instead of 30 years into the future. It's definitely not a pro-cryptocurrency story as most of the story mocks it (rightfully so).

There's a mystery to be solved, and I kind of expected it to take the whole book to track down the whodunit, but about half of the way into the book, the mystery is mostly solved, with the remainder of the story being about how the hero deals with the aftermath/fallout from unearthing a crime and coverup among a bunch of competing interests.

If you follow tech, enjoy noir and sci-fi, Red Team Blues will be totally up your alley. And if you enjoy audiobooks where the narrator spends a good amount of time and energy acting and making a performance into a real role, by all means opt for the audiobook version to get the full enjoyment out of it.