LAPD Detective Ted Kaza lives a solitary existence. Undergoing prescribed therapy for anger management issues, his only outside companion is his dog. And lately, he’s been plagued by dreams of Simon Cardoza, an alter-ego that lives in his loft but leads a much richer, happier life.
His partner Lydia Jackson has her own issues, trying to navigate between a career and a spoiled fiancee undergoing baby fever of her own. And Jackson is stuck juggling career, money, and her demanding girlfriend.
But everything is about to be up-ended when Kaza and Jackson are given a new assignment in post-Quake-ravaged Los Angeles: find Alice Walker, a high school girl who correctly and very publicly predicted the earthquake that split California apart at the seams six months earlier and left a societal maelstrom in it’s wake.
To say nothing of Kaza’a alter-ego suddenly appearing…
… or the three-eyed man.
Building upon the world set up in his earlier books, Stay Younger Longer and Rise of the Liberators, author Ryan Hyatt returns to and expands on the socially dystopian world he began in the previous two books. And like most good fiction (and science fiction), his world is not so distant from our own. Rich with politics and social intrigue, but never one-sided or preachy, it’s rife with incidents and situations just a few degrees askew from our own. Government soldiers attacking protesters, the gulf between haves and have-nots, political parties maneuvering for dominance, all under the light of what might be a potential alien incursion.
Not from south of the border. Much, much further away…
Or, is it something more…?
Despite the unnervingly surreal nature of Hyatt’s very real world, he’s crafted another can’t-put-down read, populated by rich, well-drafted characters one can’t help but root for as they move deeper into the conspiracy that's unspooling around them. Kaza and Jackson are in over their heads and know it, but keep plugging on in their jobs. This is the very meat of good storytelling, and the details that Hyatt gives us make the world richer and darker at the same time. In spite of the depth of his world-building, his characters never get lost against the larger tapestry. One scene, early on, in which refugees in a settlement camp in MacArthur Park stand off against government troops is especially chilling, as it could have been lifted directly from the pages of today's papers or tonight’s newscasts.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether Ryan Hyatt is prescient or just a damn good writer, but if you want to know which way the wind is blowing, check out what’s on his shopping list… He might know something you don’t…
It’s a room fit for a princess, [Alice thinks] and there is something nostalgic about it: a hope or a dream of a happy childhood. Maybe Trinity’s spirit wouldn’t mind if I pass on a few of the plush frogs, bears and unicorns to Melissa down the hall? I’m sure the telekinetic would enjoy their company. Besides, what harm could come from a few stuffed animals decorating her empty unit? Even if Melissa treated the cotton dolls as her own army, any battles waged against the staff couldn’t be more harmful than a pillow fight. Facing off against a special force of teddy bears would probably be more fun for the orderlies, anyway, than being smacked and stabbed by flying clipboards and pens every morning when they check on her…
A teddy bear falls from the bookshelf and lands in Alice’s hands.
“Thanks, Trinity,” she says, placing it upright on the desk. “I’ll take that as a sign. Good idea, just not a good time. Things are about to get crazy out there.”
-Part III, Chapter 2
Rating: HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Creative Team: Ryan Hyatt (writer)
Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
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