Sunday, December 20, 2009

State of Decay-James Knapp

State of Decay
James Knapp
Roc, Feb 2 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451463104

America is at war, which is nothing new, as America is always at war. However, the all voluntary army has maintained its constant readiness by offering incredible benefits to those who sign up. Rather than face death in some foreign land, a soldier can enlist as a revivor; a person who to dies before serving, but is revived as a reanimated corpse with cognitive skills intact and no need to eat live humans due to an implant although battlefield atrocities have been reported as Commanders remove the chip inhibiting the flesh obsession.

FBI agent and non-revivor veteran Nico Wachalowsk investigates illegal trafficking of reviver sex slaves. However, his inquiry leads him instead to illegal shipments of military weaponry including revivors. At the same time his former girlfriend police officer Faye Desalia is trailing a serial killer. When the couple compares notes, they find one link, the leading contractor for revival technology, Heinlein Industries. They are soon joined by cage fighter Calliope Flax and psycho psychic is Zoe Ott as the two cases take twists unforeseen by either Nico or Faye as the overseas wars are coming home to roost.

This is an intriguing futuristic Americana thriller in which the atmosphere and ironically what is implied but not said (for instance what war is this as seemingly eternal conflict makes them all the same) in some ways overwhelms the prime conspiratorial plot. The story line is action-paced with the zombie concept fresh and the psychic idea not while the fearsome foursome is. Although the conspiracy is over the top of the Pentagon, fans will appreciate this entertaining look at the future of the industrial-military-DC convoluted complex.

Harriet Klausner

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