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The Apollo Murders

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An exceptional debut thriller and “exciting journey” into the dark heart of the Cold War and the space race from New York Times bestselling author and astronaut Chris Hadfield (Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary).   1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million mil An exceptional debut thriller and “exciting journey” into the dark heart of the Cold War and the space race from New York Times bestselling author and astronaut Chris Hadfield (Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary).   1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help. NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it. But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.   Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists, and tension of The Hunt for Red October, The Apollo Murders is a high-stakes thriller unlike any other. Chris Hadfield captures the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of space, and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour as only someone who has experienced all of these things in real life can.   Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.


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An exceptional debut thriller and “exciting journey” into the dark heart of the Cold War and the space race from New York Times bestselling author and astronaut Chris Hadfield (Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary).   1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million mil An exceptional debut thriller and “exciting journey” into the dark heart of the Cold War and the space race from New York Times bestselling author and astronaut Chris Hadfield (Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Project Hail Mary).   1973: a final, top-secret mission to the Moon. Three astronauts in a tiny spaceship, a quarter million miles from home. A quarter million miles from help. NASA is about to launch Apollo 18. While the mission has been billed as a scientific one, flight controller Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis knows there is a darker objective. Intelligence has discovered a secret Soviet space station spying on America, and Apollo 18 may be the only chance to stop it. But even as Kaz races to keep the NASA crew one step ahead of their Russian rivals, a deadly accident reveals that not everyone involved is quite who they were thought to be. With political stakes stretched to the breaking point, the White House and the Kremlin can only watch as their astronauts collide on the lunar surface, far beyond the reach of law or rescue.   Full of the fascinating technical detail that fans of The Martian loved, and reminiscent of the thrilling claustrophobia, twists, and tension of The Hunt for Red October, The Apollo Murders is a high-stakes thriller unlike any other. Chris Hadfield captures the fierce G-forces of launch, the frozen loneliness of space, and the fear of holding on to the outside of a spacecraft orbiting the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour as only someone who has experienced all of these things in real life can.   Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.

30 review for The Apollo Murders

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    Imagine if there had been an Apollo 18 mission. Hailed as the last of its kind, it would be fraught with peril and steeped in secrecy. Set during the Cold War era, three astronauts must make the journey for the good of country and science. But when things start to go wrong, who can they really trust a quarter million miles from home? Yep, say no more! Just dangle Apollo anything in front of me and I'm instantly hooked. You guys know I'm a total space buff, so there's no way I can pass up this boo Imagine if there had been an Apollo 18 mission. Hailed as the last of its kind, it would be fraught with peril and steeped in secrecy. Set during the Cold War era, three astronauts must make the journey for the good of country and science. But when things start to go wrong, who can they really trust a quarter million miles from home? Yep, say no more! Just dangle Apollo anything in front of me and I'm instantly hooked. You guys know I'm a total space buff, so there's no way I can pass up this book. In fact, when I first heard about it, I almost fell out of my chair in excitement. So I got my bonbons ready and prepared to dig into what was sure to be a riveting ride. And this has all the bones of a great thriller. The premise is fantastic, the setting atmospheric, and who doesn't love a deadly cat-and-mouse game playing out in space? Since this is fiction weaved into real history, I recognized a lot of the people and events of the space program, and it adds to the authenticity of the whole thing. It was also interesting to contemplate how the Cold War mentality of suspicion and secrecy would play out should the U.S. and Russia actually cross paths during the space race. But for me, where this book fell short is its excessive technical details. I appreciate those details when it helps me understand the story or drives the plot along. But in this case, the technical information often seems to overwhelm the story. In particular, no piece of machinery we come across is too minor to be given a thorough overview, be it helicopter, fighter jet, submarine, and of course every component of the rocket and spacecraft. I mean, I just need to know enough to understand the story; I'm not actually using this as a manual to pilot an aircraft or to build one, you know? When writing a story like this, I imagine there is a constant tug-of-war between including enough technical details as to be authentic, but not so much that it bogs down the narrative and the pacing. With Hadfield being an astronaut and having tons of technical knowledge, it's natural that he would focus on what he knows best. But for me, it just went a bit too much in that direction. Still, this was an interesting read and a solid first effort at fiction by Hadfield. There's enough potential here that I look forward to reading more from him. I just hope he takes mercy on regular folks like me next time and include a little less technical info dump. My heartfelt thanks for the copy that was provided for my honest and unbiased review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was an exciting, thrill-packed Cold War thriller. Its author, Chris Hadfield, imparts his extraordinary knowledge and experience, bringing atmosphere, authenticity, and credibility to the plot. The gripping, action-packed story is infused with science, technology, politics, espionage, space history, murder, and intrigue with vividly drawn, believable characters. Author, Chris Hadfield, is a much-decorated Canadian astronaut, a former fighter pilot, engineer, spacewalker, served in both the This was an exciting, thrill-packed Cold War thriller. Its author, Chris Hadfield, imparts his extraordinary knowledge and experience, bringing atmosphere, authenticity, and credibility to the plot. The gripping, action-packed story is infused with science, technology, politics, espionage, space history, murder, and intrigue with vividly drawn, believable characters. Author, Chris Hadfield, is a much-decorated Canadian astronaut, a former fighter pilot, engineer, spacewalker, served in both the American and Russian space programs, and Commander of the International Space Station. Readers who have not followed the history of the Apollo space program and the space stations may recognize Hatfield may recognize him from the video where he played guitar and sang David Bowie's Space Oddity while floating in 0 Gravity in the ISS. This was featured in news reports at the time and can still be viewed on YouTube. He was active in the space program from 1992 until 2013. I find it difficult to categorize this action-packed novel. This is not so much in the science fiction genre but a historical and suspenseful journey into an alternate past involving a fictional journey of Apollo 18 in 1973. The Apollo program actually ended with Apollo 17, but the story imagines what happens on a subsequent mission to the moon. The writing is filled with an overload of scientific detail and technical descriptions that will appeal more to the space enthusiast than to the casual reader of thrillers. However, the story is so suspenseful, intense, action-packed, and cinematic within a plausible, realistic storyline that it should keep most readers entranced. A leading character is Kaz Zemeckis, a flight controller at Houston. He is assigned to oversee the mission of three astronauts to the moon and ensure their safety from Mission Control. Kaz missed his goal for going into space when he lost an eye in a training accident. Shortly before blast-off, the astronaut in charge dies in an accident, or was it accidental? The leading backup astronaut replaces him. One astronaut is to stay in the vehicle, circle the moon, and await the two walking on the moon's surface. Due to unfortunate circumstances, this will not be the two originally assigned to the task. At the last minute, the scientific exploration is hastily changed into a military one. The Russians have placed a high-resolution spy satellite in orbit and also a moon rover looking for valuable minerals on the surface. The astronauts are now ordered to disable both items in order to keep the Russians from advancing in the space race. Kaz is suspicious that one of the astronauts is not what he pretends to be. Surrounding him in Mission Control are many real characters whose names I recognized from the past. Also, at the White House are actual historical people, all seamlessly blended into the story. At the end of the book, I was surprised that most of the characters, except for the fictional Kaz, were real people, and the Russian spy satellite and their moon rover were actually in place at the time. In the high-tension storyline, there are startling encounters, dangers galore from the Russians, and one aboard Apollo 18 may be a murderer. Events do not go as planned, and both the Russians and the Americans are determined to retrieve an exotic, rare mineral from the moon. The Russians are angry that Apollo 18 is trying to disable their space equipment. Back at Mission Control, the sheriff and others are helping Kaz investigate the astronaut's backgrounds and try to keep on top of the changing events in space. What will the outcome be? Will the crew of Apollo 18 succeed in their mission and get home safely? Recommended to those who want adventure, history of early space exploration and moon landings, espionage, and find the technical details enhance the reality of this dramatic story. I was glued to the pages, except for a short break to watch Captain Kirk returning from space in Jeff Bezos's space vehicle.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.0 Stars As a huge fan of Chris Hadfield, I was very excited to read his historical science fiction thriller. The best aspect of this one was the inclusion of the technical and historical details surrounding astronaut life. Unfortunately, the murder mystery and characters fell flat so I struggled to keep my immersion in the story. I think the narrative would have been more engaging if it involved more humour.  I would recommend the audiobook version, which is narrated by Ray Porter. He did a grea 3.0 Stars As a huge fan of Chris Hadfield, I was very excited to read his historical science fiction thriller. The best aspect of this one was the inclusion of the technical and historical details surrounding astronaut life. Unfortunately, the murder mystery and characters fell flat so I struggled to keep my immersion in the story. I think the narrative would have been more engaging if it involved more humour.  I would recommend the audiobook version, which is narrated by Ray Porter. He did a great job with the material. 

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    3.5 stars? Let me preface this review by saying that thrillers are really not my genre. This novel is well written and Chris Hadfield has proven himself to be a very well rounded guy, more creative than I would expect given his military and astronaut background. During the early pages of this novel, I found myself checking Wikipedia in order to determine Hadfield‘s age. Sure enough, he's two years my senior, and that's what I would have guessed from the time period he chose to write about. The ye 3.5 stars? Let me preface this review by saying that thrillers are really not my genre. This novel is well written and Chris Hadfield has proven himself to be a very well rounded guy, more creative than I would expect given his military and astronaut background. During the early pages of this novel, I found myself checking Wikipedia in order to determine Hadfield‘s age. Sure enough, he's two years my senior, and that's what I would have guessed from the time period he chose to write about. The years of Richard Nixon, Apollo space missions, and Russo-American rivalry. The stuff we grew up in. The choice of an alternative history, where another Apollo mission occurred, was an inspired choice for him. Hadfield is almost uniquely qualified to write this book, former test pilot, astronaut, and commander of the ISS. He obviously has a good grasp of space history, both Russian and American. He speaks Russian, having spent time on both Mir and the ISS and in Star City, Russia. In short, he knows how the Russian space program, NASA, and astronauts look, sound, and act. He can keep it real. Especially that “you can have emotions on your own time" ethos that seems to govern the space program. Hadfield manages to shoehorn in a couple of female characters. One rather minor one is a geologist involved in the lunar program, who becomes a love interest for the more prominent CAPCOM, Kaz. The other is a female cosmonaut who provides much of the opposition needed for the book's purpose. I struggled to stay engaged because for me there were far, far too many technical flying details included. The folks who do care about such things will have a field day dissecting his descriptions. Whenever I set the book down, it was hard work to convince myself to pick it back up again. That, however, is me, not the book or the author. When the book first came out, Hadfield was all over Canadian public radio, doing the publicity for it—I am unsurprised that he said that thrillers were his preferred genre. He has studied them well and has a well structured book with excellent tension and he threw in some imaginative twists. Don't judge the book by my rating. My ratings reflect my enjoyment of the reading experience, not the quality of the book. The pressure in the last few chapters is intense, the action nonstop. It was such a relief, to see the end in sight, and to read the final reveal. The book has garnered a lot of attention due to the author—there are 554 people waiting for it at my library. I don't know if Hadfield has plans to write another novel, but this one is good enough that I expect there would be an appetite for it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Exploring the Cold War through a new and exhilarating lens, this novel by former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has all the ingredients of a superior thriller. Examining the tensions of two superpowers, the space race is a poignant backdrop during the tense 1970s. When the Americans learn of a Soviet space satellite, they are less than calm. It will have to be destroyed before too many secrets can be conveyed behind the Iron Curtain. Doing so will require not only stealth, but also precise pl Exploring the Cold War through a new and exhilarating lens, this novel by former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has all the ingredients of a superior thriller. Examining the tensions of two superpowers, the space race is a poignant backdrop during the tense 1970s. When the Americans learn of a Soviet space satellite, they are less than calm. It will have to be destroyed before too many secrets can be conveyed behind the Iron Curtain. Doing so will require not only stealth, but also precise planning. With the launch of Apollo 18, there could be a chance for success, but nothing is guaranteed, as NASA has come to realise. When something goes terribly wrong outside the Earth’s orbit, it will take some quick decision-making to remedy it. All the while, focus within the White House and Kremlin is up into the stars, as both impatiently await news to share. Hadfield does a masterful job with this piece, stirring up emotions with every plot twist! With space exploration still in its infancy, two political superpowers seek to earn the title of ‘master of the outer realm’. The Americans and Soviets have been fighting a cold, but focussed, political war on land and sea for years, but the battle to explore space is a new frontier. This is the premise of the novel, which takes readers as deep as they could possibly go. NASA flight controller Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis knows that all too well, as he helps prepare for the launch of Apollo 18. The Americans have had some success getting astronauts into space and onto the moon, but there is more to that with this launch. US Intelligence has deduced that the Soviets have a spy satellite orbiting Earth and transmitting news back to the Kremlin, something that could have dire consequences. Apollo 18 may be the only hope of destroying the satellite without drawing too much attention, but Kaz is not sure it will work. After Apollo 18 launches into orbit, three astronauts receive word of their extra mission and are tasked with trying to neutralise Soviet spy power. It will be a delicate mission and no one is entirely sure how easy it will be to get the needed answers. Still, it is a must to protect America and every astronaut knows the importance of their patriotic duty. When things go horribly wrong out in space, thing turn from a covert mission into one focussed on rescue. New protocols will need to be created and a loose ‘friendly coolness’ develops between the Americans and Soviets. Working together will be the only way to ensure the body count is minimal, while keeping the general public out of the know of any major mishap. Kaz and many others will have to rely on transmissions and limited capabilities of the astronauts while heading for the Moon, the still somewhat under-explored part of near space. All eyes and ears are on the transmissions of Apollo 18 and its crew, as they seek to find needed answers swiftly and concisely. Holding their collective breaths, Washington and Moscow await news, putting aside their differences for a moment, but refusing to melt the chill in the air! A stellar piece of writing that pushes the Cold War to new limits! Chris Hadfield’s experience as an astronaut comes through in this piece, which is full of great information about the space program. From a detailed narrative about the preparations for time in space to the explanations of procedures needed to survive outside of the Earth’s orbit, Hadfield presents a piece that educates as much as it entertains. The story is stunning in its detail and delivery, leaving me eager to keep reading as I discover things I had no idea existed. I can only hope there are more books to come in this vein, as I could not get enough. The cast of characters is broad and each has something for the reader to explore. Hadfield has an array of those who could be protagonists in their own right, but I choose not to choose a single individual for this piece. Backstories are plentiful, as are the moments of development, when pressure and politics enter the equation as well. The reader will likely find someone with whom they can relate, or at least connect throughout the turbulent nature of the piece, making it an even more captivating story. The premise of the piece was not only brilliant, but its execution was stellar from the opening pages. Chris Hadfield develops his plot in the early stages of the narrative and pushes forward incrementally in an attempt to paint a picture for the reader. With a great deal of backstory to use as foundation, the story must begin slowly, but soon takes on a mind of its own and leaves the reader demanding more as things progress. A cast of unique characters, as well as some known in history, provides the reader with something exciting and useful when offering context. Knowledge of the space program and space itself can be found throughout the story, aiding in the education of the layperson and not keeping them from understanding what is taking place. I can only wonder what else Hadfield has for readers in the coming years, as this was, if you pardon the pun, out of this world!   Kudos, Mr. Hadfield, for a great fiction debut. Don’t stop here, as I know you will have many who demand more space thrillers! Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    “The Apollo Murders” by former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield, is a cracking debut Cold War thriller, that quite literally blew my mind into orbit. With his unrivalled universe expertise and talent of conveying fact into entertaining fiction through the written word, this book was one of the few that will stay in my thoughts for a very long time. - 1973, a final top secret mission to the moon. Three astronauts in a tiny module. 250 million miles from home. 250 millio “The Apollo Murders” by former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield, is a cracking debut Cold War thriller, that quite literally blew my mind into orbit. With his unrivalled universe expertise and talent of conveying fact into entertaining fiction through the written word, this book was one of the few that will stay in my thoughts for a very long time. - 1973, a final top secret mission to the moon. Three astronauts in a tiny module. 250 million miles from home. 250 million miles from help. But not everyone on board is quite who they appear to be. Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime. Having just recently watched in awe at William Shatner blasting off into space and always having a fascination in our solar system, I couldn’t wait to read this highly anticipated space thriller. As the story opens with the prologue of the main narrator, flight controller Kaz Zemeckis, of how he lost his left eye in a jet flying incident, this set the scene instantly for this incredibly detailed reading extravaganza. Stories do tend to portray visually in your head but this particular one played out so vividly in my mind it was like I was actually watching a blockbuster movie. I could hear the roaring sounds of the various aircrafts, feel the g force, see the sights the astronauts were seeing and amongst all those sensory feelings, also get a sense of the plot of the story which in itself was tense, intriguing and entertaining. The fact that the author himself admits that many of the characters are real life people and much of what happened in the book is true, this made it all feel so much more genuine and believable than a run of the mill thriller, no matter how well written. At the end, there is a section on who were the actual real characters, events and machinery etc and I felt the people I was learning about, I had come to know personally already. I’ll never feel the same way again looking up into the sky at night, knowing that somewhere up there there could be people like Luke, Chad even Svetlana looking down on Earth going about their duties. “The Apollo Murders” is an unbelievably detailed and narrated thriller, that I’d highly recommend if you have even a passing interest in space travel and I commend the author for producing such a wonderful book based much on his own life experiences. #TheApolloMurders 5 stars

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Surely one of my most anticipated books of the year! My liking for Chris Hadfield knows no limits since he tweeted at me from SPACE! I was also fortunate enough to meet him at a book signing in Oxford. His knowledge and first-hand experience of being an astronaut (in space, in the US and in Russia), a space-walker and a jet pilot fills this Cold War thriller, which is set during the golden days of space exploration. There is a great story in here and it is pumped full of atmosphere and authentic Surely one of my most anticipated books of the year! My liking for Chris Hadfield knows no limits since he tweeted at me from SPACE! I was also fortunate enough to meet him at a book signing in Oxford. His knowledge and first-hand experience of being an astronaut (in space, in the US and in Russia), a space-walker and a jet pilot fills this Cold War thriller, which is set during the golden days of space exploration. There is a great story in here and it is pumped full of atmosphere and authenticity. My only issue would be that, at times, there is far too much detail, which holds up the thriller pace. I consider myself an 'expert' now on how a jet engine works! But this is unmissable really for anyone who is as fascinated by space exploration as I am. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I received a DRC of this book. I loved this book, everything about it; the science, the tech, the murder and intrigue and the history. Hadfield's writing feels so personal that at times I even felt as if I were reading a memoir. His knowledge, experience and skill set makes the Apollo Murders credible and authentic. His writing is incredible, his characters are so believable and well-developed in their strengths, flaws and humanity and his dialogue is true to the characters. You're present with th I received a DRC of this book. I loved this book, everything about it; the science, the tech, the murder and intrigue and the history. Hadfield's writing feels so personal that at times I even felt as if I were reading a memoir. His knowledge, experience and skill set makes the Apollo Murders credible and authentic. His writing is incredible, his characters are so believable and well-developed in their strengths, flaws and humanity and his dialogue is true to the characters. You're present with the characters whether it's in the control room, Apollo 18 or the Universal Joint. It was also nice to get back to this familiar trope, the U.S. vs. the Soviet Union – made me nostalgic for the Cold War.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    The cover reminds me of the opening of the 2001: A Space Odyssey movie. The top of the letters in the title are blurred on the cover makes it look sloppy. An interesting what if story, the plot twists do help the make the book more exciting. The granular details about spaceflight in the story comes from one who knows.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lyne

    3.5 Stars. I’m a huge fan of Chris Hadfield. He’s awesome! He’s one of our own! I’m sure every Canadian knows who he is. This amazing Canadian connected with us through social media and introduced the entire world to outer space. Mr. Hadfield now pens a murder novel based on his knowledge as an Astronaut. If I had been asked what I thought about “The Apollo Murders” when I was half way through the first section “To the Moon”, I would have said “Meh”, too technical, too many acronyms! However ask 3.5 Stars. I’m a huge fan of Chris Hadfield. He’s awesome! He’s one of our own! I’m sure every Canadian knows who he is. This amazing Canadian connected with us through social media and introduced the entire world to outer space. Mr. Hadfield now pens a murder novel based on his knowledge as an Astronaut. If I had been asked what I thought about “The Apollo Murders” when I was half way through the first section “To the Moon”, I would have said “Meh”, too technical, too many acronyms! However ask me now and WOW! So, hang in there, and once you get to the third section named Cosmonaut, it picks up and gets really interesting. The ending was not what I was expecting! A good action finish. I found that Chris Hadfield gave overly technical explanations at the beginning, such that, I skimmed past them. Having said that, like magic, the writing got much better, less technical, more action. WOW again! Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for planning an Event: #IndieEventsWithChrisHadfield on Tuesday, October 26 2021, via Zoom with Mr. Hadfield. That evening gave us readers an incredible insight and understanding of the spatial Cold War era at the time. This era is also reflected in the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Only someone with first hand experience could write a novel as rich in detail as this one, from the characters to the technology, The Apollo Murders is, in many ways, a masterpiece. Set during the Cold War, a space race still on, politics and intrigue sit at the heart of this story, a compelling and twisty mystery which has a brilliantly effective prose and excellent historical context. My one slight issue was the overly technical explanations that peppered the plot sometimes to the extent I skim Only someone with first hand experience could write a novel as rich in detail as this one, from the characters to the technology, The Apollo Murders is, in many ways, a masterpiece. Set during the Cold War, a space race still on, politics and intrigue sit at the heart of this story, a compelling and twisty mystery which has a brilliantly effective prose and excellent historical context. My one slight issue was the overly technical explanations that peppered the plot sometimes to the extent I skimmed past it-however for those who are really into outer space and all that goes with it this would definitely be a plus so a subjective downside. Overall excellent. Should be a huge hit. Rightly so.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    There are a few books I’m wildly excited about this year and this is one of them. So excited to read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    I knew going in that this is one of those books that relies on the author's name recognition to sell copies, but even with my low expectations, this wasn't good. It's a silly story, told poorly, with not much else going for it. Is it 1-star bad? Probably not. There were a few sections that were quite fun if taken in isolation. A couple of plot points were also interesting, like what the Russians found on the moon and the constant one-upmanship between the 2 nations. Other than that, though, it wa I knew going in that this is one of those books that relies on the author's name recognition to sell copies, but even with my low expectations, this wasn't good. It's a silly story, told poorly, with not much else going for it. Is it 1-star bad? Probably not. There were a few sections that were quite fun if taken in isolation. A couple of plot points were also interesting, like what the Russians found on the moon and the constant one-upmanship between the 2 nations. Other than that, though, it was an unfocused mess. The writing was 100% to blame. The author simply didn't have the storytelling skills yet to make a story like this work. It was full of conveniences, constant head-hopping, useless characters, annoying stereotypes, unnecessary detail, inconsistent pacing, bizarre character motivations, bland dialogue, too many subplots, no character development, and boring prose. It's no surprise an editor couldn't save this amateur attempt at a novel. So a 1.5, rounded down because, by the end, I simply wanted it to be over. It wasn't awful, but it was so far from good, it didn't make much difference.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Geonn Cannon

    I’m sorry, I’m in the minority here, but this book is just boring. It’s like For All Mankind but without the ability to make you care about the characters. And the narrator was dry as toast, with only the trace of emotion in dialogue (and good luck telling anyone’s voices apart, he does Man and Woman with accents as needed). Not that the text gave him much to work with. “I am going to walk on the Moon. I am now walking on the Moon. I have now walked on the Moon.” 2.5 rounded up because the autho I’m sorry, I’m in the minority here, but this book is just boring. It’s like For All Mankind but without the ability to make you care about the characters. And the narrator was dry as toast, with only the trace of emotion in dialogue (and good luck telling anyone’s voices apart, he does Man and Woman with accents as needed). Not that the text gave him much to work with. “I am going to walk on the Moon. I am now walking on the Moon. I have now walked on the Moon.” 2.5 rounded up because the author provides credibility to the science, but dear lord he cannot tell a story. I was excited for this book but in the end the word I kept ok’ing back to was just “dull.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    A Cold War thriller set in space… written by someone who’s actually been there. I’ve followed Col. Hadfield on his socials since he covered David Bowie’s Space Oddity aboard the International Space Station, a viral video which has garnered over 50 million views since being uploaded almost a decade ago. Now retired, he has turned his hand to fiction, and the resulting The Apollo Murders is a riveting speculative historical fiction thriller set in the early 70's, imagining a further escalation A Cold War thriller set in space… written by someone who’s actually been there. I’ve followed Col. Hadfield on his socials since he covered David Bowie’s Space Oddity aboard the International Space Station, a viral video which has garnered over 50 million views since being uploaded almost a decade ago. Now retired, he has turned his hand to fiction, and the resulting The Apollo Murders is a riveting speculative historical fiction thriller set in the early 70's, imagining a further escalation of the Space Race sparked by the deployment of a Soviet spy satellite and an Apollo 18 mission with a hidden reconnaissance and sabotage agenda... The historical and scientific accuracy didn’t disappoint: Given that this was written by a former Commander of the ISS, the descriptions of things such as zero gravity, G-forces, and the peculiar claustrophobia of being trapped in a space capsule, all things he’s actually experienced, had me glued to the page. Hadfield also speaks fluent Russian, so I’d imagine that those passages would be correct—it’s a major pet-peeve of mine when authors insist on having foreign languages in their novels but butcher even the most basic sentences. I loved that an Author’s Note detailing all the real things, events, and people was included—it made me appreciate the research that would’ve been needed to write this even more in retrospect. However, sometimes the detailed technical descriptions went too far, especially in the beginning of the book: While I really enjoyed all these tidbits once we got into orbit, they held absolutely no interest for me when they were about military aircrafts used on Earth; I just really don’t give a fig about helicopters, and I don’t need instructions on how to fly a Cessna. The Cold War was a wild time, and I suppose that there are probably classified missions from that era that would sound even stranger than this particular fiction, but there is so much going on: Espionage, politics, science, technology, combat—this book has all of it, and then some. Given the omniscient narration, the reader knows who the murderer is while everyone else in the story is still trying to figure it out, which makes for some good tension, but also some odd pacing and “shocking reveals” which fall flat on their face. Speaking of flat—unfortunately this applies to the characters as well, although I’ll admit that the dialogues felt very believable, and I’m not sure I was left satisfied by the relentlessly action-packed ending—it seemed a little rushed. Despite some flaws in the prose and storytelling itself, a good chunk of The Apollo Murders was authentic and vividly atmospheric, namely the parts describing actual space travel. I can’t shake my awe at the thought that Hadfield was up there, and is writing about things he’s seen with his own eyes, rather than simply imagining them, as any other science fiction writer would—undoubtedly the book’s biggest selling-point. Given his military/aerospace background, this is a perhaps surprisingly creative and well-structured story that keeps the tension up, and even has some unexpected twists—by imbuing it with his unique knowledge, he lends it credibility even in some of the more far-fetched situations. I’d recommend this fun ride to anyone with even just a passing interest in the golden age of space exploration.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Amazing narration and thank you @hachetteaudio A sci-fi read, a political thriller, and a murder mystery in a fast paced book with lots of twists and turns! A nail biting read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Don Jimmy Reviews

    I really wanted to love this. It had everything going for it, but in the end I think the what had me excited about it (an action book in space written by an ACTUAL astronaut!!!) Chris obviously had the right background when it comes to the science here, I wouldn't argue that there is anything unrealistic here. All that is spot on, and he goes into great detail. However, I was very very close to dropping this after 100 pages. I couldn't warm to any of the characters, and to be honest I was finding I really wanted to love this. It had everything going for it, but in the end I think the what had me excited about it (an action book in space written by an ACTUAL astronaut!!!) Chris obviously had the right background when it comes to the science here, I wouldn't argue that there is anything unrealistic here. All that is spot on, and he goes into great detail. However, I was very very close to dropping this after 100 pages. I couldn't warm to any of the characters, and to be honest I was finding it quite boring (due to the aforementioned detail). I did force myself to keep going (which I usually don't do anymore) and I'm glad I did, it did pick up a bit (after I was already half way) and the story itself became more interesting for the most part, but I still found the execution left a lot to be desired. I honestly feel this could have been a much better book had it been trimmed down a bit. Disappointed, but I do appear to be in the minority on this one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Mackintosh

    This book took awhile for me to get in to. Quite technical but in the end there was a fast paced finish that I really did enjoy. I agree with all the people saying that if you enjoyed The Martian by Andy Weir, you will enjoy this read. I did also enjoy The Martian! Great for anyone interested in flight and space travel. #indigoemployee

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield (4 stars) Set in 1973 amidst the Cold War space race between the Americans and the Russians, Houston flight controller Kaz does what he can to keep the NASA crew together. But, someone aboard the Apollo Eighteen isn't quite who they appear to be. Just like The Martian, The Apollo Murders is full of fascinating technical detail about space travel and astronaut life. Along with the Apollo crew, you can almost feel the G-force of launch, the frozen loneliness of The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield (4 stars) Set in 1973 amidst the Cold War space race between the Americans and the Russians, Houston flight controller Kaz does what he can to keep the NASA crew together. But, someone aboard the Apollo Eighteen isn't quite who they appear to be. Just like The Martian, The Apollo Murders is full of fascinating technical detail about space travel and astronaut life. Along with the Apollo crew, you can almost feel the G-force of launch, the frozen loneliness of Space and the fear of holding onto the spaceship for dear life as it rapidly orbits Earth. What really brings this book to life is how well Col Chris Hadfield, the former Commander of the International Space Station describes everything. He's really been there and done it. You can feel the realness in the experiences of the Apollo Crew through his storytelling. I could go on and on about how fucking great Hadfield is for an entire essay so, I'm just gonna stop here. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021; my favourite Canadian astronaut diving into the wonderful world of fiction... I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! I'm so happy to say that The Apollo Murders was an excellent, four star adventure. My only complaint is that Hadfield got a little too wordy with the descriptions and science. Anyways, I don't want to spoil any more of the plot through my review but I will say that The Apollo Murders is more of a sci-fi thriller than a murder mystery as the title leads you to think. It's super interesting if you fucking love space and still haven't given up your dream of becoming an astronaut like me! Anyways, I highly recommend The Apollo Murders to anyone who likes books about space, who is Canadian (gotta support our most decorated astronaut) and anyone who likes books with historical revelence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma Jarvis

    3.5 Stars I really enjoyed this book for the most part! I loved the technical details (even though they were a bit much sometimes) and thought the premise was really interesting. I will say that it took me maybe like 100 pages to get into it, but once they took off for the moon I was hooked. There were a lot of characters and different perspectives to keep track of and the POV jumps around mid chapter a lot which took some time to get used to. This isn't exactly a page-turning thriller as there a 3.5 Stars I really enjoyed this book for the most part! I loved the technical details (even though they were a bit much sometimes) and thought the premise was really interesting. I will say that it took me maybe like 100 pages to get into it, but once they took off for the moon I was hooked. There were a lot of characters and different perspectives to keep track of and the POV jumps around mid chapter a lot which took some time to get used to. This isn't exactly a page-turning thriller as there are a lot of slow parts between the action, but I was still really invested in the story. The mystery also kind of fell flat to me. I thought it would be more murder-mystery but it was more just a thriller without really any mystery about who the killer was.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Godfrey

    2.5 rounded to 3 stars, very slow build, very technical

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book is a fun ride from start to finish. Chris Hadfield has written a great thriller, but what makes it more fun is the way he throws in tidbits of Apollo knowledge that only a real astronaut would know. If you enjoyed Andy Weir’s book The Martian, you will like The Apollo Murders. I received an ARC of this book through Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Raminder Brar

    I can't wait to read this from our own Canadian rockstar! I can't wait to read this from our own Canadian rockstar!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    This is a murder mystery that's also an alternate history about the late Apollo program and the Cold War. We start with an Apollo mission that's a departure from our own history. Apollo 18 was planned, and planned as a fully military mission, but canceled due to both budgetary and political reasons. In this story, Apollo 18 escapes cancelation, and is focused on checking out the site on the Moon that an unmanned Soviet Moon rover has been investigating. Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis, a test pilot and This is a murder mystery that's also an alternate history about the late Apollo program and the Cold War. We start with an Apollo mission that's a departure from our own history. Apollo 18 was planned, and planned as a fully military mission, but canceled due to both budgetary and political reasons. In this story, Apollo 18 escapes cancelation, and is focused on checking out the site on the Moon that an unmanned Soviet Moon rover has been investigating. Kazimieras "Kaz" Zemeckis, a test pilot and astronaut eliminated from space launches after an in-flight bird collision costs him an eye, is appointed as flight controller for Apollo 18, responsible for the safety of the crew from Mission Control. But once he thinks he's settled in and well connected with all the crew, several unsettling changes occur. First, US intelligence has made the alarming discovery that the Soviets have launched a space station, with the same basic purpose as the (canceled) US Military Orbital Laboratory (MOL)--taking high quality photographs for military intelligence purposes. And as they gather more information about the quality of the photographic and telescopic equipment on this Soviet space station, the plans for Apollo 18 are changed. The intelligence shows that the station won't be manned yet, so there's no reason not to take the opportunity to disable it. Apollo 18 is going to be stripped down as far as possible without completely canceling the original mission, launched at a different angle than planned, and rendezvous with the Soviet MOL-equivalent. At a minimum, they will thoroughly photograph it; if possible, they will disable it. Then they'll be launched toward the Moon, and the reduced version of their original mission, which is to find out why the Soviet Moon rover is exploring that particular area and what they've found, and if possible disable that, too. This will mean fewer Moon walks, but also a previously unplanned space walk. The other alarming change is that the Apollo 18 mission commander, Ted, and I'm sorry, listening to the audiobook I didn't retain his last name, is killed in an apparent helicopter accident. But what caused the accident? An intense investigation begins, but meanwhile, the Apollo 18 mission needs a new commander. The choice falls on the logical person, Chad Miller, the commander of the backup crew. This is deemed to be less disruptive than replacing the entire crew at what is painfully close to the last minute. Miller is a midwestern farm boy, and it's the early 1970s. He's got more of a temper than Ted had, but he's very capable and gets the job done. We learn, when he and Kaz talk about their backgrounds and Kaz reveals that his family are Lithuanian Jews who escaped just before the Nazis arrived to wipe out most of the Jewish community there, that Miller is a bit of an antisemite. It's no surprise when we also learn, due to the command module commander, Michael (possibly Edshail, but another last name I didn't get reliably due to listening to the audiobook), is the first black astronaut to go into space.. The third member of the crew is Luke Hemming (I'm almost sure of that name), and despite the irritants, they're all going to be professional about it, right? Once we are into space, we have vomiting, the unpleasant discovery that the Soviet space station is manned after all, brawls in space, deaths, an unexpected rearrangement of the crews (really, I can't say any more than that), and more unexpected discoveries on the Moon. Meanwhile, on Earth, Kaz is cooperating with local police, NASA, and military authorities in investigating the death of the original mission commander. It's discovered to be sabotage, and they have to look at the people with both opportunity and at least the potential for motives. The more information he gathers, the more Kaz suspects that on of the astronauts on Apollo 18 isn't who he seems to be. This is a very nicely done murder mystery, spy thriller, and utterly convincing alternate history of the early 1970s space program and Cold War. Hadfield obviously knows the space program, and has done his research on both the space program and world politics of the period. I found the characters interesting and convincing, and the story very solid. Recommended. I bought this audiobook.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Apollo Murders is a historical mystery thriller written by Chris Hadfield. It is a spectacular alternate history thriller. In 1973, the Apollo 18 moon mission, which was canceled in real-life, becomes a military reconnaissance operation aimed at gaining intelligence about a new Soviet space station – Almaz. Since Almaz, in effect a huge, manned camera threatens the United States' National Security, therefore, the Apollo 18 team is charged with trying to sabotage the station, but one Apollo as The Apollo Murders is a historical mystery thriller written by Chris Hadfield. It is a spectacular alternate history thriller. In 1973, the Apollo 18 moon mission, which was canceled in real-life, becomes a military reconnaissance operation aimed at gaining intelligence about a new Soviet space station – Almaz. Since Almaz, in effect a huge, manned camera threatens the United States' National Security, therefore, the Apollo 18 team is charged with trying to sabotage the station, but one Apollo astronaut’s death in a plane crash puts that goal at risk. The tragedy triggers an investigation into its cause and whether the astronaut's aircraft was deliberately tampered with. Houston flight controller Kaz Zemeckis works desperately to keep things on track, unaware that someone involved on the American end is a Russian mole. The Apollo Murders is written rather well. Hadfield keeps readers in suspense about the identity of the Soviet agent and how the cold war confrontation in space will play out. His mastery of the details enables him to generate high levels of tension. Hadfield's use of real people brings historical authenticity to the novel, and there are many tidbits of NASA lore that only an insider could provide, but the devotion to technical facts has some drawbacks. All in all, The Apollo Murders is a thrilling novel that would take readers to space and back.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    Full review to come closer to publication!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Quite a lot of fun. Some parts of it don't make sense, though. I wish there had been a stronger central thread. Quite a lot of fun. Some parts of it don't make sense, though. I wish there had been a stronger central thread.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Wonderful book, non-stop suspense and adventure. Well written and the really technical parts can be passed over as needed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Benedict Wong

    Great read! The stage building was very strong, both from a realistic and suspense building aspects which didn’t make anything feel over the top. It could really use a small glossary of common space travel abbreviations and sayings, as much as I enjoyed all the explanations throughout the story, they probably were better suited separately.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John McKenna

    This is an alternate history of the cancelled Apollo 18 moon mission. In the novel it takes place in 1973 and is re-imagined as a military reconnaissance mission to spy on a Soviet space station known as Alnaz. Alnaz is nothing more than an orbiting ‘eye in the sky’ aimed at gathering intel from the United States. Fearing that it’s a threat to U.S. national security, the Apollo 18 crew is tasked with sabotaging the Russian orbiting camera. But, as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plan This is an alternate history of the cancelled Apollo 18 moon mission. In the novel it takes place in 1973 and is re-imagined as a military reconnaissance mission to spy on a Soviet space station known as Alnaz. Alnaz is nothing more than an orbiting ‘eye in the sky’ aimed at gathering intel from the United States. Fearing that it’s a threat to U.S. national security, the Apollo 18 crew is tasked with sabotaging the Russian orbiting camera. But, as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plan. First, one of the Apollo 18 astronauts dies in a suspicious plane crash that puts the mission at risk. An investigation is launched to determine whether the aircraft was sabotaged. That’s when a flight controller named Kaz Zemeckis pulls out all the stops to keep Apollo 18 on track . . . unaware that a Russian mole has penetrated the American team. With intricate detail and an insider’s knowledge, author Hadfield, (who also wrote the best-selling non-fiction book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth), ramps up the tension and terror with the skill of a maestro conducting the New York Philharmonic, by turning a simple construction detail into a major mission-ending and life-threatening problem. This one will keep readers glued to the page . . . just as surely as Neil Armstrong had the whole world holding it’s breath, as we all watched him take “One giant leap for mankind,” back in 1969.

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