The premise is Zach Forest is assigned to the dubious job of tracking down Easytown's resident vigilante, the Paladin. Despite dressing like Batman, he's more like Frank Castle and has been carving his way through the worst of Easytown's residents. While investigating this oddball, Zach also discovers a disgusting new industry in "torture tourism." The wealthy come down to Easytown for the experience of torturing and murdering clones before going home. This, despite (or because), clones have no difference from their human benefactors.
This premise is already a bit harder to swallow than THE IMMORALITY CLAUSE. Aside from the facts a killer vigilante is patrolling the streets, there's a number of questions I get from torture tourism. 1. Why use clones instead of androids? Those already exist in the setting. 2. How did clones get absolutely no rights when we have them viewed as people today? 3. Are there really that many super-rich serial killers that they will spend gobs of money to legally murder people?
Despite this, I actually consider Tears of a Clone to be a really-really good. This is due to the fact Zach Forest is a delightfully screwed up main character. He's a borderline alcohol, an awful boyfriend, and full of all kind of prejudices which make him a terrible cop. This should be bad but it's actually kind of hilarious how he mostly stumbles across his clues by accident while everyone else assumes he's playing a much deeper game. It's an interesting character development for a detective who used to be much more on the ball.
Brian Parker has an excellent grasp of characterization so that while the story never slows down, we have plenty of interesting story beats with a large supporting cast. Zachary Forrest's love life, his oddball relationship with his home A.I. Andi (who works like a super-advanced version of Siri), and the local crime lord who is more honest than the majority of the cops in town.
I'm particularly fond of the character of Teagan who is Zach Forrest's much-younger admirer who mistakes him for a hero despite the fact he is a deeply flawed person getting worse. I'm reminded of Harry Dresden's relationship with Molly Carpenter when they get together. I also predict it will crash and burn. However, that should be an interesting story and I'm looking forward to the third novel which has just been released.
The villains are an interesting collection as they represent less individual people than the darker elements of the 2070s world. The biggest problem facing Zach Forrest in his investigation is clones have no rights so there's no actual "crime" being committed in the murders. The public hates the idea of grown-people so much they silently approve of the horrors being done, which Zach has to figure a way around. The parallels to the issues of crimes against minorities, particularly in the South, isn't subtle but works well.
In conclusion, Tears of a Clone is a great neo-noir cyberpunk novel which I recommend for those who want a mystery in a near-future setting. The characters are flawed, the morality dark, and the plot developments interesting. Even the fact there's a costumed vigilante killing criminals is brought to a gritty realistic level once we find out the character's backstory.