4 out of 4 stars
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Nick Garvey, an NYC detective, and his partner, Tim Branson, receive an urgent call from their Captain, Kevin Gilmore, to abort their surveillance of a gang suspected of kidnapping. The captain commands them to meet with him at City Hall where the bodies of five men have been found discarded on its steps. On arrival, Gilmore proceeds to assign the case to Nick and his partner as he reveals that the bodies belong to a top government official and four of his Secret Service agents.
Meanwhile, the supreme director of the World Council, Jason Beck, has amassed absolute power and control over most of the world’s population by taking ownership of majority of the world’s oil. However, his plans for total world domination are threatened by President Lenora Allison, who plans to activate a grid system that captures energy from the sun (beamed down by a thirty-year-old Japanese satellite) and converts it to electricity to power up all of Manhattan. Jason knows that if the grid system is successful, it’ll undoubtedly undermine his power and influence. Thus, he plans to sabotage the president and the grid-lighting ceremony. As the threat towards President Allison becomes more imminent, Nick and his partner are assigned to protect her at all costs. Will Nick and Tim uncover who is behind the murders, and will they be able to successfully protect the president and the grid?
Sundown: Engineering Gives the Devil a Sunburn by Carl H. Mitchell is a superb detective thriller that has some elements of mystery, science fiction, and political conspiracies. The narrative hauls readers to the year 2057—a world brought to its knees by a corrupt world council, where population control is the norm, excessive shortages of oil threaten to bring everything to a standstill, and the lack of trust in law enforcement organizations has resulted in citizens creating their own groups known as ‘paracorps’ to protect themselves.
The author’s vivid and impeccable description of the characters’ dystopian reality felt frighteningly tangible. I loved how through one of the characters’ journals, I was given a glimpse into the past years’ events that propelled the characters’ world into its harsh existence.
The narrative itself offered a multilayered intricate plot that mainly featured Detective Nick Garvey at almost every turn. I especially appreciated how Nick is a multidimensional character and that despite his job as a detective and his attempts to piece the world back together, he still remained an individual with his own set of struggles, hopes, and uncertainties. The author also did a great job with the characterization of other main characters; they were not only believable but also memorable. Additionally, I found the level of character development among some of the key characters to be really satisfying.
An exciting element that spun a number of the unexpected twists and turns is that everything was not as it seemed including the characters. Even with that bit of knowledge, the revealed truths and events that occurred especially towards the end caught me by surprise. I enjoyed this aspect of the book because early on in the story, I got to know who some of the perpetrators were. It was refreshing that the narrative still retained elements of suspense and surprise.
One of my favorite subplots was that of the kidnapping gang. I found it very interesting because it contributed to the intensity and suspense in the narrative. I was happy to see one of the characters I was curious about from the gang crossover to the main plot. This gave me the chance to get to know and appreciate the character even more.
Overall, this was a captivating read, and I’m happy to recommend it to fans of detective novels. If you’re put off by narratives that feature a large cast of characters and numerous subplots, this may not be the book for you. I did notice one instance of needless repetition and few minor errors. Otherwise, this is an impressive first novel, and I look forward to seeing more books from Carl H. Mitchell. Without further ado, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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