Try Robert Sydney’s The Bright Spot is a paperback noir/sf original from last year with a great cover design that just grabs you and says read me! Nick Bainbridge (not his real name) is an actor on the second go around after everything he was in in his first shot bombed. He’s picked up work at a crappy educational film maker (ok, it’s virtual something or other, but think low-rent film production studio) who remake lit classics in more populist forms (you have to read it to find out what they do to Frankenstein). Nick and his costar Lu are offered under-the-table parts in a weird sting operation on a powerful old man, James Dumfries — the inventor of “ware”, software that runs on people so that they can do anything. The software helped the USA win the last (unnamed) war but is now used for everything from roadworkers to chefs. The sting goes off but something goes wrong and Nick and Lu’s contact disappears and they don’t get paid. The government starts keeping tabs on them and Nick can’t let go the feeling that there’s more to their own story than meets the eye. All the right parts are here: beautiful blondes (who don’t automatically end up dead!, conspiracies and backroom deals, and through it all smart biting comments on the world today. The Bright Spot is perfect for a bus or train ride or just sitting in a cafe or a bar.