Book Review of Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean:
The novel begins with Agent Thomas Walken investigating the arrival of contraband tech into the futuristic city of Seattle, just another corrupt excess imported from a place called Wonderland. But this routine bust turns into a something else, a blood-soaked conspiracy that turns Walken into a fugitive looking for elusive answers to a very sinister problem.
The author knows how to build a futuristic world, and some of the best passages in the book are the way he describes the landscape and surroundings in which the characters live and breathe; he vividly creates a Seattle fallen through a cyber-tech rabbit hole. And the inhabitants that dwell among the distorted spires are brought to life with equal skill, showing a darker side of humanity, with their flaws and self-interest on display. Even the protagonist has a murky, bitter side that unfolds as he plummets into the mystery he is trying to unravel.
It is that mystery that is at the center of a well-written, complex, multi-layered plot that peels away with suspense and tension, drawing the reader ever further into its web. I thought I knew where the book was headed until the finale took a sudden turn, morphing from the body of the story, and twisting everything that went before into an enigmatic question. While I suspect some readers may find the conclusion disconcerting, I thought it was an interesting and bold choice. It may not have been the ending I wanted as a reader, but I think it fit with the overall tone of the book and it does leave you thinking.
Shadow of a Dead Star is a fascinating book, and a definite recommend.
Michael Shean's Website: http://michael-shean.com/wordpress/