3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Sundown: Engineering Gives the Devil a Sunburn by Carl H. Mitchell takes place in New York City in the year 2057. The world is a different place under the authoritarian leadership of the World Council. Nick Garvey is a cop with the NYPD who tries to balance solving the assassination of the vice president with the complex relationship he has with his family.
The book is centered on problems that are caused as a result of the energy crisis. The author used today’s problem of unchecked use of fossil fuels to create a world in the future where most of the oil in the world has been used. Electricity is kept off except for limited times designated by the World Council. The price of gas is so expensive that cars have become a rare commodity and the ones that sill exist are hardly ever used. The President tries to fix some of these issues by installing a solar power grid above the entire city to bring back full-time electricity. The grid becomes a major point of contention in politics and is also utilized as an easier way of maneuvering through the city.
As a result of the energy crisis, a World Council was formed to rule over every country on the planet. Any energy negotiation between countries has to be approved by the Council or else the deal becomes invalid and the countries involved are severely punished. The World Council is similar to the overbearing Big Brother mentioned in George Orwell’s 1984. They can manipulate every country on the planet to comply with their will. Privacy is completely nonexistent with the installation of secret cameras that are capable of seeing every square inch of New York City to monitor everyone’s movements at all times. This book does a good job of showing an extreme view of the privacy vs. security debate where security is seen as a top priority.
This book demonstrates a different law enforcement spectrum that has evolved as a result of the energy crisis. At the top of the food chain is the World Council that controls the movements and actions of the police. The second most powerful branch of law enforcement is referred to as Paracops, which is like a community watch program on steroids. Each neighborhood has its own force of Paracops that are composed of citizens that live in that neighborhood. Their job is to take care of crime that happens in their community such as the large problem of child trafficking. They share a lot of similarities with modern-day gangs except they are given more authority than the police to stop crime and are allowed to dole out whatever punishment they see fit. At the bottom of the food chain are police officers that have to navigate past the World Council and the Paracops to attempt to get any work done. They are virtually powerless with all of the limitations put upon them and it seems as though they are being slowly phased out and replaced by Paracops.
I would give this book 3 out of 4 stars because although it had an interesting storyline, it seemed very drawn out to the point that reading became more of a chore than entertaining. The story could have been trimmed down a bit to make it a more enjoyable to read and the subtitle of the book could be eliminated since it has nothing to do with the plot. This book does not contain any cursing or sexual content. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about futuristic worlds, crime, politics or family drama.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon | on iTunes