The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield
Narrator: Ray Porter
Published by Random House of Canada on October 12. 2021
Source: Library
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction
Length: 15 hrs 15 mins
Pages: 480
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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three-half-stars

The far side of the Moon, 1973. Three astronauts are trapped in a tiny Apollo module, and one of them has murder on the mind . . .

From internationally bestselling astronaut Chris Hadfield comes an exceptional Cold War thriller from the dark heart of the Space Race. As Russian and American crews sprint for a secret bounty hidden away on the Moon's surface, old rivalries blossom and the political stakes are stretched to breaking point back on Earth. Houston flight controller Kazimieras 'Kaz' Zemeckis must do all he can to keep the NASA crew together, while staying one step ahead of his Soviet rivals. But not everyone on board Apollo 18 is quite who they appear to be.

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 puts you right there in the moment, a quarter of a million miles from home - a quarter of a million miles from help. Experience 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 told by a former Commander of the International Space Station who has done all of those things in real life.

Strap in and count down for the ride of a lifetime.

My husband was telling me the other day that the Mars lander was losing power because of dust. I asked if it was on the radiator. He looked at me funny and said it was on the solar panels. I had been in the middle of The Apollo Murders and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that an astronaut’s plan to sabotage the Soviet’s moon rover was to cover it in dust. It’s the middle of the Cold War and the US and the Soviet Union are in a race to conquer space — for national security reasons, foreign policy objectives, and bragging rights.

In this science-fiction thriller set during the Nixon administration, Apollo 18 is being sent on one last mission to the moon. The Soviets have a moon rover and a manned spy satellite. The tension between the Americans and the Soviets is palpable, both in space and on the ground. It’s national pride and personal pride and following orders.

And there’s a murderer aboard Apollo. A man who I had a hard time believing could actually have made it through the background and psychological tests. The Apollo Murders is exciting and action-packed and full of insider information about astronaut life and the space program on both sides. It’s chock full of technical details and what-ifs. But it’s also a little unbelievable. Not in a science fiction way, but in a motivation way. The murderer’s motive is he’s basically a psychopath, which I’m rarely a fan of. The US’s motivation to sabotage the Soviet’s equipment seems wonky – it’s not like the USSR wouldn’t know it was them and react accordingly.

The characters were uninspiring and I didn’t understand why the author needed to throw in a love interest for Kaz, but it was a story that kept me listening when I should have been doing something else. The author did a great job of intertwining real people and events with fictional ones. And I was interested in seeing how it turned out in the end.

  • Science fiction set during the Cold War
  • Trapped in space with a murderer
  • Lots of technical details and “insider” knowledge

About Chris Hadfield

A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Colonel Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was named the Top Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy and was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. He has flown three space missions, building two space stations, performing two spacewalks (EVAs), crewing the Shuttle and Soyuz and commanding the International Space Station.

Colonel Hadfield is the author of three international bestsellers: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, You Are Here, and The Darkest Dark, plus a new thriller novel, The Apollo Murders. He released a music album, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, and his version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity has been seen by 100s of millions. His TED talk on fear has been watched 11 million times.

Colonel Hadfield is the co-creator/host of the internationally acclaimed BBC series Astronauts, and helped create/host, with actor Will Smith, the National Geographic series One Strange Rock.

Colonel Hadfield is the producer of the celebrated Rare Earth series on YouTube and the creator of the on-stage celebration Generator, which combines science, comedy, and music for sold-out audiences.

Additionally, Colonel Hadfield is an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, an advisor to SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, and Board Chair of the Open Lunar Foundation.

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