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July 17 2024


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Starfleet Corps of Engineers: Malefictorum

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at June 12, 2005 - 2:35 AM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #50: Malefictorum
Author: Terri Osborne
Release Date: April 2005
Format: eBook
ISBN: 0-7434-9696-4

Fifty is a significant number. Fifty is an especially significant number to reach for a series of books. When the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series was launched in the fall of 2000, many, myself included, didn't hold out much hope that a monthly eBook series could have all that much success.

One of the biggest doubts that I had about a series that would publish under the pressure of cranking out a new story every month was the quality. How could such a series maintain consistent quality storytelling for any significant length of time? They're bound to run out of fresh and interesting story ideas at some point I felt sure. Happily for Star Trek fans, myself and other naysayers were proven wrong.

Malefictorum by Terri Osborne, the fiftieth S.C.E. tale, is a perfect example of why this series works so well and continues to gain in popularity. The author's are never content with just maintaining the status quo and are always willing to try something new. A classic locked-room mystery, Malefictorum is a suspenseful and interesting puzzler.

When crewman Ken Caitano is found dead in his quarters aboard the U.S.S. da Vinci, the evidence, or rather the lack of evidence, provokes more questions than answers. Caitano's mysterious death is quickly followed by that of another crewmember and Lt. Commander Corsi's investigation leads the crew to Starbase Deep Space Nine. What Corsi discovers there takes the da Vinci into the Gamma Quadrant to face an old but still quite deadly foe.

Malefictorum is Terri Osborne's first contribution to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers and based on this story I'm really looking forward to her future contributions. The plot flows along easily with a tight narrative. The story immediately engages you with it's intelligent and easy-to read style which keeps the reader anticipating but uncertain of what might happen next right up until the final few pages.

Most importantly, Osborne captures the characters perfectly, both the S.C.E. cast and the Deep Space Nine characters they interact with in this story. As the character investigating the murder of her crewmates, Dominica Corsi is the central character in Malefictorum. Osborne portrays Corsi in all her tenacious glory while at the same time reminding the reader that there are hidden depths to the da Vinci's Chief of Security.

All in all, Malefictorum is another solid tale from a series that is obviously a long way from running out of fresh and interesting ideas.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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