Posts Tagged ‘weight control’

America in near future is a very different place.  It’s illegal to be fat (except in the states Louisiana and Alabama), and random spot checks are often conducted on citizens, to ensure that they are within their weight limits.  Chocolate is now only available on the black market, smuggled into the country, and is known as ‘Brown’.  Illegally eateasys are all over the place where people can go to gorge themselves on junk food.

In this new world, Health Enforcement Agent Matt Devlin is juggling the demands of his new job, a volatile work partner, and the pressures of being a single parent (being constantly worrying that his daughter Sylvia is using Brown), and wondering if he will ever find love again.  His life suddenly takes a turn for the bizarre when a prostitute named Cupid Frish, who he and his partner stopped for a random weight check, turns up hours later – dead, and covered in expensive chocolate.  Devlin and his colleague Kate Strong become involved in trying to solve her murder, and in doing so, inadvertently antagonise Homicide Detective Nathalie Ryan.  It soon becomes apparent that Frish had connections to some powerful men in the city – and these men don’t seem to want these connections uncovered….

I have mixed views about this novel.  Dystopia is a genre that I particularly enjoy, and it’s not one that often mixes well with humour.  (It can be done, as Ben Elton’s ‘Blind Faith’ showed.)  There was a lot of potential in the story, but I felt that it ultimately failed to deliver. 

There was not much characterisation – Devlin is a likeable enough main character, but I didn’t feel that I ever got to know him.  The same can be said for his colleague Kate Strong, and the detective Nathalie Ryan.  The two men who are suspected of the murder, Luther Atom and Heston Gotfelt, are little more than caricatures.

There was a decent murder mystery at the heart of the story, which did have a clever twist at the end.  However, the story seemed to get a little bit lost amongst all the attempts to draw comparisons between the world in which the story is set, and the world of today (or yesteryear – for example, eateasys are an obvious comparison with the speakeasys which were popular during prohibition).

There were some moments of sharp observational humour however, and I think I would give this author another try.  To draw a comparison of my own however, this book was something like eating cheap chocolate – moderately enjoyable at the time, but leaving a slightly dissatisfied feeling afterwards.

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