I've been a huge Alastair Reynolds fan ever since I read Revelation Space--a big, sprawling space opera that showcased an amazing imagination. Reynolds knows how to plot, and his characters have more depth than some critics give him credit for, but I read his novels because of the core strangeness in them. Somehow, Reynolds manages to convey the true alienness of life in a far-future in which humans have spread out beyond the solar system. Endlessly inventive, endlessly weird in the best possible way, Reynolds' novels satisfy the page-turner in me and also the reader who wants something more than that.
Now he's back with The Prefect, set in the same milieu as Revelation Space. It tells the story of Tom Dreyfus, a policeman who patrols the Glitter Band--the vast array of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, a teaming hub of a human interstellar empire. An attack on his area of responsibility leads to an investigation that uncovers all sorts of intrigue. It's a perfect summer novel. If you like SF, you need this book.