Book Review: Deadeye
By: William C. Dietz
Published By: Ace
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Science Fiction
Deadeye takes place in a post-biological warfare America where society has split between those who are still “norms” and those who were mutated by the virus B. nosilla. The action centers on sharpshooting LA police detective Cassandra Lee as she and her mutant partner, Ras Omo, search for a norm girl who was kidnapped and taken deep into mutant territory.
I enjoyed the setting of the book. Post-virus LA is gritty and dirty and dangerous. The former United States has broken up into norm-controlled Pacifica, Atlantica and the Commonwealth. The mutants control the Republic of Texas and the New Confederacy. This story has several themes I absolutely adore: post-apocalyptica, the broken USA, and mutants. This should have been the story for me. Sadly, the book feels like it was rushed into existence – parts of the story don’t make sense and it seems to have missed a round of thorough editing.
Within the story, the rules about the virus don’t make sense. B. nosilla is airborne which is why it was so effective as a terrorist weapon. But somehow, it’s okay for normal characters to take off their ever-present face masks to sleep, shower and eat while in mutant territory. That seems like a pretty big liberty to take with a virus that can give you a gruesome mutation. I have to believe that the author realized this and just neglected to explain how B. nosilla was different from other airborne viruses.
Also, there is the matter of the Bonebreaker subplot. I love that Cassandra Lee continues to hunt (and be haunted by) her father’s murderer, a serial cop-killer called the Bonebreaker, even though she has been forbidden to work on the case. Several odd things happen regarding the Bonebreaker, though, and none are well explained or tied into the story. This subplot, which should have added positively to the tension in the story, ends up adding (the bad kind of) confusion and becomes a deus ex machina to save the kickbutt female lead character in a situation where she should have been able to save herself.
The technology, or lack thereof, in the story bothered me. The characters rely quite a bit on cell phones and Tasers. Now, the exact year of the story is unclear but it is at least 20-25 years after the bioterrorist attack of 2038, so figure it takes place sometime around 2060. In the aftermath of the attack, technology would still have progressed, at the very least in the norm-controlled areas that historically have been the technology powerhouses (Pacifica and Atlantica). There’s also no reason mutants couldn't have progressed either, at least that the author reveals to the reader. And even if somehow technology didn't progress after the attack, I expect that there would have been some progress between 2015 and 2038. The technology available to the characters should have been more advanced or explained as to why it wasn't.
On the editing side, there are several instances of characters using acronyms or Spanish phrases and Dietz explaining it in parentheses. This really brought me out of the story. If you have terminology that might confuse people, have one character explain it to another. Otherwise, trust that your audience will figure out that BOLO means “be on the lookout” and that the readers will Google the Spanish insult if they really want to know what it means.
I liked the idea of the book more than its execution, but I think that fans of Dietz’s many other novels might enjoy it as well as people who like a twist on traditional police detective stories.
The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, "a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic," (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series...
In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…
Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.
In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…