Heavy Time begins with Morrie Bird and Ben Pollard, miners in the Asteroid Belt, who happen upon a wrecked vessel in space. Venturing inside, they find Dekker, who has been unconscious for days. He is barely alive and is completely disoriented, yelling for his partner Cory, who is no where to be found. The answer as to what truly happened is yet to be known. Dekker grapples between the slippery grasp on his memory, the mental trauma that has overtaken him, and the supposed reports from the ASTEX corporation.
The ending of Heavy Time is worth a read, but it is a long journey to get there. Cherryh focuses heavily on character development. For some, parts of the book may drag or seem aimless due to this focus. For myself, I really enjoy the time Cherryh spends on making each character unique. I don't think there is ever anything that seems like fluff; all the scenes have a purpose. I thought Dekker's psychological trauma was well done, and I liked the distinction of the rab speech from the others.
Once any action scenes kick in, it is imperative to pay attention to every word because you just might miss something. However, this isn't an action-focused book - it is more along the lines of a mystery.
What I like about Cherryh's work is that she doesn't dumb anything down. She doesn't do long exposition explaining a world - she sets you right in the middle of things, just like you belong there.