Imagine finding yourself in a desperate situation—perhaps even a matter of life or death—but you have no way to resolve the problem. Suddenly, as if sent from heaven, a Good Samaritan appears and says that he and his friends can help. All they require from you is a small monetary payment and a single object, a “keepsake,” from your home. Would you refuse?
But once the job is completed, how would you react if the one object they take is the thing you treasure above all others—a family heirloom, your wedding pictures, or even a medal of honor? In this sci-fi story, we meet Gabe Mola and his assistant, Jebediah, who have dedicated their careers to bringing down these bandits. Although the group is most commonly known as the Star Gypsies, Gabe’s department knows little else about them except that they leave a path of misery and heartbreak wherever they go. The Star Gypsies look different to each victim, and no one is sure where or when they’ll strike next.
Jebediah is determined to learn as much as he can about the Star Gypsies. He studies all of the department’s case files and talks to some of the victims in an effort to gain more insight. Gabe and Jebediah are able to track down some of the Star Gypsies during an attack, but they find that the Gypsies are more powerful than they originally realized. With the ability to read minds and shape shift as they please, the Gypsies seem to be unstoppable. But in a final effort to take the Star Gypsies down, Gabe and Jebediah are faced with an unthinkable dilemma: to face certain death or to make a deal with the very group they’re trying to arrest.
Keepsakes by Mike Resnick kept me glued to my seat until the very end, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction. I loved the ironic twist at the end of the story and Gabe’s determination to take down the Star Gypsies, even if it was the last thing he did. It made me wonder how I would really react if faced with a situation like this. Mike Resnick’s easy-to-read style is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and I would recommend his books to any reader.