Today's book review is A Gathering of Widowmakers by Mike Resnick.
This is another tale of galactic bounty hunters in Resnick's Inner Frontier. It continues to be an engaging universe, and in that universe Resnick brings three versions of his ur-bounty hunter the Widowmaker together so he can riff both on what qualities make a hero extraordinary and on what's important about a person. But somehow the details in the story feel contrived for the occasion, so the story doesn't completely click, and the world isn't as engaging as I'd hope. Perhaps Resnick painted himself into a corner -- by defining the Widowmaker as a killer so good that he only deals with the most competent criminals, he forced himself to create enemies that are over the top in their killing potential. Oddly enough, he handles the Widowmaker character well enough that he remains believable, but the obstacles he runs across feel more contrived than usual. I don't mean to imply that this book completely fails, but it also doesn't completely succeed.
Not a bad book, really. Short and fast and fun. But not really good either, and Resnick usually delivers better. 7 out of 10.