Book of the Day
Review by Danny Lindsey
Dan Vining’s dystopian novel, NightSun (Rare Bird Books, 2018) imagines a terrifying, but plausible future for America. Set in Los Angeles sometime after 2025, the landscape is at once familiar and as foreign as the soccer fields on Mars. It didn’t take a war, earthquake or tsunami to radically alter California life, just a few seemingly small events. When Mexico discovered vast oil reserves making it the new OPEC, all Latinos suddenly went home to good jobs, leaving huge gaps in menial and blue-collar workers in the United States. When China dumped tens of millions of ultra-cheap electric vehicles into California, all of a sudden everyone had wheels, and the freeways were completely stalled 24/7. Not that anyone cared; they just turned up the music and enjoyed the experience.
Policemen no longer ran on surface streets, having gravitated to two-seater helicopters. One seat (the driver) was for policemen, the other for their personal gunner, whose only duty was to keep the policeman alive. Gunners did not interfere on the behalf of citizens or victims. Crime scenes were flown to by techs, EMTs, and coroners. And crime scenes proliferated. Gang warfare was one of the remnants of today that changed little over time, either in ferocity or intensity.
The competing gangs no longer bothered with racketeering or prostitution, however. The big money was in smuggling US citizens from all across the New Dust Bowl into Mexico, where work was plentiful, a complete reversal of illegal immigrant migration of the early 21st century. The return trip was equally remunerative, as drugs were often the prevailing currency. Some things do not change with the passing of a couple of decades.
With a subplot featuring a private investigator who sports a catsuit, hired to find a beautiful girl, a modern version of the missing girl’s pimp and a third party professing undying love and paying the PI for her quest, Night Sun is an entertaining read.
Did I mention old-fashioned good guys vs bad guys chase scene? No? I guess I forgot to include it. Darn. Expect scenes reminiscent of Airwolf, or maybe Blue Thunder.
I’d read it again.
Danny Lindsey keeps trying to retire. After a 20-year Army career and a 25-year second one in the private sector, he’s finally settled down. His current gig is as the Veteran Employment Services Manager for a Huntsville, A.L. based non-profit, Still Serving Veterans. Both full careers were characterized by numerous writing assignments, from war plans to operating policies and procedures, then on to white papers, analyses of alternatives and competitive contract and grant proposals. Now his writing consists of blogs for the website www.ssv.org, podcasts for the local NPR affiliate, and a half dozen Pulitzer-worthy, albeit unpublished novels.
Update: Danny won the 2017 Killer Nashville Claymore Award with his manuscript Serial Justice – so he will not be unpublished for long!