Wow. All I can say is, "Wow!"
I just finished reading Adam-Troy Castro's second book in the Andrea Cort series - The Third Claw of God. Though the series features a very strong female protagonist, it was a bit of an unusual choice for me, because it was written by a male author. I'm very glad I didn't let that stop me.
First, let me say that I'm aware that my feelings about male authors are likely unfair to them. It just seems like when I read female protagonists written by men, they don't ring as true to me.
Andrea Cort is definitely an exception to that feeling. She is extremely well-written, strong yet sympathetic, and I love the way Castro has let us get to know her throughout these two novels. By the time I started this second book, I felt I knew her well enough to like her. Now, having finished the novel, I feel like I understand and respect her.
The plot itself, is excellent. It's a combination of science fiction and mystery, very true to both genres with lots of world building, specialized, futuristic tech, and suspense that keeps a reader wondering who the antagonists really are until the final ten pages of the book. When you think it's over, it's not. I love it when an author can skillfully pull that off. There's also the perfect amount of, "Oh, I saw that coming," mixed in with plenty of, "Whoa, where did that come from?" to make everything believable in the end.
I am looking forward with great anticipation to the next book in the series.