4 out of 4 stars
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At the beginning of Sundown by Carl H. Mitchell, the world in in the grip of an energy crisis. The lights of New York City are black and the NYPD is functioning with scarcely a skeleton crew. To protect the populace, independent organizations roam the streets. The world's oil reserves have all but disappeared and now the whole world depends on a shadowy organization, The World Council, for its energy. Nick Garvey, a tough but overworked NYPD detective assigned to investigate the murder of the Vice President, knows from the beginning that he's onto something big, though he has no clue just how big.
I found Nick to be supremely enjoyable. His wit and sarcasm sparkled on every page and I found him to be totally relatable and believable. I enjoyed reading his assessments of situations and how he encountered them. Even more, I enjoyed reading through the story's twists and turns with him as he tried to figure out how all of the puzzle pieces fit together. As for the other characters, the villains are devious and positively depraved (one even had me wanting to cuddle my dog). The side characters who work with Nick all had their own individual personalities and bantered with Nick perfectly in tune with them. There are few, if any, stock characters here.
At times the dialogue between characters is used for info-dumping, though each character's individual personality still shines through, even then. While I don't usually enjoy info-dumping in dialogue, I enjoyed this – I particularly enjoyed Nick's sarcastic tour of the grid while he arrested a suspect. I enjoyed Nick's trip to the library for its own particular brand of info-dumping, I thought his research into the recent past was a great way of explaining how the world had come to be as it is in the novel. While informative, Nick's trip to the library was highly relevant to his investigation and to the storyline itself. I found this to be a theme, while Nick did take time to see his daughter, not a single thing he did distracted from the book's main plot. The investigation was forever in the back of Nick's mind and, as a result, the reader is kept on track. I appreciated this immensely, as this allowed the story to continue at a steady pace that kept me intrigued and stole my attention.
This book was satisfying from beginning to end, flowing smoothly from one event to the next. I found absolutely no errors that distracted me from the story, a rare occurrence. Even more, I admired the author's use of language when giving his descriptions. More than once, I found Nick's description of a scene to be succinct, and funny enough to make me laugh out loud. At times, the book shifts perspectives to the villains and we can watch as they plan their next moves behind Nick's back. These shifts in perspective weren't distracting, and instead added to the tension as I learned details and plans that Nick had only the faintest inkling of. More than once, I worried for the main hero.
This book was a page-turner of epic proportions. At first I thought the book's premise was lofty; a dystopian murder mystery combined with a political thriller? How was that going to work? Yet, this book made it work in the best of ways. I give Sundown 4 out of 4 stars
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