The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues

by Harry Harrison
Series: Stainless Steel Rat 8
Reviewed date: 2006 Feb 9
Rating: 2
229 pages
cover art

The League tricks Jim diGriz into drinking a cocktail of poisons that will kill him in thirty days. They promise him the antidote if he helps the League recover a stolen item: an irreplaceable alien artifact of inestimable value.

Jim agrees to locate the artifact, and with League help he concocts a cover story: he becomes lead singer in the galaxy's best pop band. His first act as singer and secret agent is to get himself sent to Luikukae, a secret prison planet that is the last known whereabout of the artifact. Once on Luikukae, Jim and his musician pals traipse around giving concerts, fighting for their lives, and making discreet inquiries about whether anybody "has seen the object in this photo?"

Eventually Jim tracks down the alien artifact and returns it to the League--sort of. He exacts his own revenge against the League admiral whose idea it was to poison him.

The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues is an uneven book. It starts out well, but goes downhill pretty quick. I'd say anything after the part where Jim gets poisoned is not much good. It's just too bad that Jim gets poisoned so near the beginning of the book.

But I jest. It isn't that bad, it's a decent Stainless Steel Rat adventure, though not up to par with some of the earlier books. I would rate it a three, but I am deducting an entire point for Harrison's poor attempt at a joke: one of the petty villains is named Arroz conPollo. I am not amused.

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