*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Solving this murder might be the gravest mistake he could make.
At the Northwest Federal University and Research Complex, where the community is cut off from the crumbling civilization outside its walls, tensions are rife. So when the deputy director is killed during a brief blackout, knifed in the back while meeting with a handful of other highly important persons inside a secure conference room, it creates a political crisis. And Security Officer Duncan Kincaid, who’s never handled a homicide before, is the one put in charge of the case…
A dystopian murder mystery and standalone novel set in the Slowpocalypse universe.
Set in a dystopian future, where communities are locked down for their own ‘safety’, Political Homicide is actually a classic locked-room murder mystery.
A handful of people meet around a table for a meeting. The lights, and camera, go off for seconds, and when they resume one of the attendees is dead. But whodunnit?
Determining that is the job of Duncan, our main character, whose work is complicated by the politics of his superiors and the shaky legal foundations of the closed community he attempts to ‘police’. He has his forensic partner to help him and only a couple of days to not only catch the killer, but ensure that it is the politically ‘right’ suspect or face dismissal… or even banishment.
There is minimal physical evidence in the case, so Duncan has to rely on interviewing suspects and trying to understand their personalities/histories and motives in order to eliminate suspects (ideally before the killer eliminates any more of them!). I love murder mysteries that focus on psychological profiles and intellectual puzzles, so this was right up my street.
I was slightly less keen on Duncan’s hangdog attitude throughout. I appreciate that he is put into a virtually impossible position but his defeatism became a bit tiresome and I had to fight the urge to point out to him that he was doing his best and should try a bit of positive thinking once in a while!
The focus in the story is the murder mystery, so it stands alone despite being the fifth Slowpocalypse book, but I found myself increasingly curious about the backstory of the setting. What is outside the walls that has people so terrified of being sent there? Why did they close themselves off? What happened to everyone else?
The only logical conclusion is that I need to go back and fill myself in on all of the previous Slowpocalypse books to find out! And I will definitely be reading any other murder mysteries Litherland writes – dystopian or otherwise.
The camera rebooted the instant power was restored, at the same time the lights came back on, but it needed several nanoseconds to adjust its iris and refocus on the scene it had already started recording again. And only then could it attempt to process the picture it was transmitting.
For a few seconds it observed a frozen tableau, and during that extended interval the camera ran a swift systems check to make sure it wasn’t stuck on a static frame. One of the individuals was slumped forward across the top of the conference table, with a foreign object now protruding from that person’s back, while the others sat motionless. Or so it had appeared until proper focus allowed the camera to identify the tiny movements labeled ‘fidgeting’.
– James Litherland, Political Homicide
Political Homicide is out on Amazon right now!