Altered Carbon (2002)

Backcover Synopsis: In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the UN. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body, making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Takeshi Kovacs is an ex-envoy, who has turned to crime and been caught in the process. Now somebody has brought him back to Earth and resleeved in a new body. His mission is to find the murder of the previous bodily incarnation of his client.

I love noir combined with SF. Even better when it sports an excellent realized future, a good plot and a good main character. Takeshi Kovacs has the right amount of rage for this kind of book, he’s a hard shell, hard core guy who is still human. But sometimes only barely. The most important feature of Kovacs is that he doesn’t bow down to anything, sometimes he’s more like a force of nature than anything else. I also liked the future society with the envoys, the cortical stacks and how this technology has affected humanity.