Friday, September 01, 2017

Redzone - William C. Dietz

The Mutant Files, Book 2
William C. Dietz


Note:  If you missed the first book in this series, DEADEYE, this review will contain some minor plot spoilers.

Years ago, a serial killer called the Bonebreaker murdered Cassandra Lee’s father.  Her father was a cop; the Bonebreaker specializes in killing cops.  Now that Cassandra Lee (Lee) is a detective with the LAPD, it’s become her mission to bring the killer to justice.  And if she has to do it alone, on her own time, that’s fine with her.  She still lives in the apartment she shared with her dad.  One whole room is dedicated to the Bonebreaker investigation.  And the killer recently struck again, taking one of Lee’s superiors.

This latest murder has convinced the mayor and the LAPD chain of command that a task force needs to be started.  Far from being sidelined because of her personal involvement in the case, Lee will be front and center.  The killer knows her; wants to kill her.  She’ll be the public face of the investigation.  She’ll be bait.  Another team will shadow Lee and her team, protecting them from the killer they hope to flush out into the open.  Lee is more than ready for this.  And it will provide a great reason to avoid thinking about the letter from her mother.

Lee’s mother left her (and her father) when Lee was a child.  Responsibility wasn’t her strong suit.  Now, she’s written to tell Lee that she’s dying.  And she’d like to see Lee one last time before she goes.  Aside from all the emotional stuff, there’s a significant drawback to making the trip: Lee’s mother is living in the red zone.  The red zone is a space inhabited by those who were infected and mutated by the virus released into the world over three decades ago by a terrorist.  It not only changed the people; it changed the makeup of the world.  Los Angeles (and the rest of the west coast) is now a nation called Pacifica.  Going east, there’s a fairly large red zone, then the Republic of Texas.  It’s legal to travel there, but it’s a wild, dangerous, and potentially infectious place.

This is the second novel in this series (after DEADEYE) and it was interesting to see Lee explore the relationship with her parents a bit more.  The plotline of the Bonebreaker was introduced briefly in the first novel, but is much expanded here.  There are some scenes from his point of view, adding a nicely creepy vibe to the proceedings.  Again, the world-building is outstanding.  There’s enough of the ‘old’ world left for everything to be recognizable, but enough has changed/been destroyed that it’s sometimes jarring.  In the best possible way.  There are some great action set pieces, and the mystery plot is quite involving.  I’m hoping this series continues for many more books.

Rating: 8
August 2015

ISBN# 978-0-425-27334-0 (paperback)


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