Nutshell version? This is an exploration of multi-cultural impacts seen through the lens of a traditional detective/mystery novel. The setting, story and cultures all transform this into science fiction, but when you distill it down you find a very classic story about a detective confronted with a conflict between enforcing the law and following his personal moral code.
The story is a solid story that engages rather quickly and rapidly tosses the primary characters from incident to incident, building intensity along the way. Some of the supporting cast of characters are weak while others leave you wondering if you should really care about them. Realize that they are there simply to provide logic for the choices of the primary character and you can get past some of the annoying character defects in these supporting characters.
As to the book being part of a series…the book is marked as the first book in the Retrieval Artist series. Note that while technically this is Book 1, in reality it is more of a prologue. It sets the stage, and shows where the character came from, but isn’t really about a Retrieval Artist at all aside from being about the creation of one.
Would I read this book again? A week ago I would have said no, but I said no then and still read it again. Do I want this as part of my permanent library? No, not really. It is a good book, but not good enough to take up what little shelf space I have these days.