from Netgalley and the publishers - thank you
Portland, Oregon, is one of my favorite cities in America -- not just because of Powell's Books but because it's beautiful and has a lively and diverse population. In the dystopian thriller The Forever Man, the diverse population is still there, but now it's divided mainly between the haves and the have-nots. The haves live in beautiful, luxurious gated communities while the have-nots struggle to keep non-permanent jobs and to keep their families fed. As the author notes,
"The national safety net was now completely unraveled and the populace left in free fall. No Social Security, no pensions, no Medicare, no Medicaid, no welfare."Then there are the criminals who run most of the city and the cops who try to keep order in this chaos.
One of these cops is Lane Anslow - he's a contract policeman also struggling to stay afloat financially, and has just been told that he's become too old for the job to continue. Lane has a genius but bipolar brother Johnny, who is involved in some very cutting-edge genetic research. Not too far into the story, Johnny tells Lane that their problems are about to come to an end, and that Lane would not have to worry about money ever again. After he returns from a trip to New York, he says, they'll both be set for life. But Johnny's plans are thwarted and he disappears, but not before he manages to get one phone call to his brother from his hiding place, sending Lane out on a quest to find him. However, there are people who are not so keen on Lane's interference -- most especially the members of a shady group who are pursuing their own interests on Mount Tabor, interests to which Johnny holds the key. Aside from the dystopian element, the author explores scientific advances that can prolong life -- for those with the cash, that is -- and the questions that arise out of the success of these advances.
Let me just say this straight up - The Forever Man was just not for me. I don't normally read books like this, but sometimes when all I want is brain candy, I'll pick up the occasional thriller or two. I always expect that I'm just going to have to toss all disbelief out the window, especially in a futuristic setting such as the one here, but this one was just way too over the top - the setting might be plausible as one future road this country could follow, but the action and the dialogue were just too much. It also reminded me of a screenplay, ready to roll the minute someone picks up the option. Most of the book is written in present tense and reads like a series of screenplay directions, including flashbacks. Once I got that in my head, combined with how over the top it was, it was a struggle to finish -- not even the debate about prolonging life could hold my interest. I hate, absolutely hate being so negative, but it's what it is. Not my cup of tea. However, the book is garnering some fine reader reviews, so it's probably just me.
my thanks to Netgalley and to TLC book tours, where if you click on the link, you'll see where this book is headed next.