Saturday, February 20, 2010
Sleepless by Charlie Huston
This book is a noirish police procedural set in a dystopian near future. Parker Haas the main character is an undercover narcotics detective. His job is to track down illegal traffic of a drug called dreamer.
This drug is the only relief for a plague that causes permanent insomnia and slow death. The descriptions are quite frightening. It is based on a real disease that causes fatal familial insomnia. In the story, Parker's wife, Rose has the disease. In the story, 10% of the population has it everywhere on earth.
This creates a kind of hell on earth where civil disorder is slowly coming apart at the seems. The setting is in a near future Los Angeles broken into enclaves of the rich, squatter towns, and neighborhoods rife with gang warfare and crime.
The story gets even weirder as Parker gets pulled into a murder investigation involving club kids. The clubs of the future are a potent mix of online games, drugs, electronic music,, and wild dancing. The online games of the future are far stranger than the drugs in this story.
The investigation slowly turns into an unsolvable conspiracy with corporate assassins, swat teams, and mercenaries chasing Parker. There can be no good end for the lead character which makes the story even more compelling. An excellent take on a world spiraling into chaos.