State of Decay by James Knapp

This book has been on my To Be Read list so long I’ve forgotten why I put it there in the first place. I was looking for some science fiction or fantasy to read, and decided to get something that’s been on the list for a while.

Published: 2010

Genre: science fiction

Length: 370 pages

Setting: near future, a big American city

Summary: The story is told from several points of view. We start with Nico Wachalowski, an FBI agent looking into a smuggling ring for revivors (technologically reanimated corpses). Turns out there’s some military models mixed in with the pleasure models, which indicates something big is happening. Then we have Faye Dasalia, a cop investigating a series of perplexing murders. It’s obviously a serial killer, but he’s leaving no clues behind at the scenes. Turns out the cases are related. A scientist at Heinlein Industries (which makes the revivor hardware) has learned there is a class of people who can influence the memory of others and erase the knowledge of that change. Zoe Ott is one of those people. She has visions and tries to help Nico with his case. The scientist is using revivors to kill people with the mind-altering ability and engineers a catastrophe so revivors are called patrol the streets.

Final thoughts: A difficult book to get into, but I kep wanting to know how it all tied together, so I was never tempted to stop reading. There are four POV characters and it takes a while before Knapp provides the connections between them. They do all come together in the end. The world Knapp built is the fascinating part, and the different characters show how it works at its different social/economic strata. The world is at that tricky point of not being our world (obviously – we don’t have reanimated corpses walking around and fighting wars), but I could see how we could get to the non-science fictional elements of society. There are three tiers of society that determine what happens to you when you die. If you’re rich enough, or possibly talented and lucky enough, you just die. Everyone else gets to be revived and used as cannon fodder in the wars, or smuggled into the sex trade. It’s a pretty dark vision of the future, and out POV characters mostly live down in the dirty, gritty parts of society.

Then you have the people who can make others do what they want, and erase any memory of those changes. Somehow that type of power seems to be lead to all kinds of corruption. Faye’s partner, Doyle, was the worst. Faye kept having “dreams” of having sex with her partner and having a voice in her head provide clues to her cases. Turns out her partner was having sex with her and erasing that memory every time. There’s all kinds of discussion that can be had about violation, and control, and power, and rape. And for him to be her partner and still force sex on her regularly. Gives me the creeps. Turns out even Nico was being controlled by his partner. However, his near death experience seems to have eliminated the suggestible part of his brain, which I’m sure will be explored in a future book in the series. I will forever let it be a mystery, though, because I didn’t enjoy the book enough to read another.

Title comes from: It think it refers to society and how it is decaying morally

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #31 for the year, and a K in my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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