Golden State
by Winters, Ben H.






A veteran of the Speculative Service in an alternate-world California where the law and truth are valued above all else uses his rare authority to question the facts when truth enforcement is manipulated for corrupt purposes.





Ben H. Winters is the New York Times bestselling author of Underground Airlines and the Last Policeman trilogy. The second novel in the trilogy, Countdown City, was an NPR Best Book of 2013 and the winner of the Philip K. Dick award. The Last Policeman was the recipient of the 2012 Edgar Award, and was also named one of the Best Books of 2012 by Amazon.com and Slate. Ben lives with his family in Los Angeles, CA.





The author of the Last Policeman trilogy and the stand-alone Underground Airlines (2016) adds another thought-provoking, genre-bending SF thriller to his bibliography. Set in an unspecified distant future, the book tells the story of Lazlo Ratesic, an operative of the Speculative Service (a law-enforcement agency that enforces laws against falsehood), whose pursuit of a murderer leads him to question some of his own deeply held truths. What's especially intriguing about the book is the way Winters dispenses information, dropping a hint here, a key sentence there, and letting us figure out what happened in the past that led to a society in which the punishment for telling a lie could be exile "beyond the desert." Winters seems to have a real affection for unusually compelling premises-the events of the Last Policeman trilogy take place as an asteroid is bearing down on the earth, and the annihilation of humanity is a certainty-and he certainly knows how to bring those premises to life in a way that keeps readers flipping pages. Another fine novel from a writer whose imagination knows no bounds. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





Tell a fib, a whopper, a confabulation in California, and, promises Winters (The Last Policeman, 2013, etc.), you'll wind up in a heap of trouble. "Any assault on reality, any infusion of falsehood in the air can't be countenanced, no matter the source." Lying weakens trust, which damages society. It also spoils one's breakfast. Laszlo Ratesic is just tucking into his chicken and waffles as Winters' yarn opens, but then he, a noted "speculator" in the employ of the Speculative Service, happens to catch the tail end of a prevarication. "Somebody's telling lies in here," he pronounces, "and it's making it hard to eat." It's Ratesic's special skill, shared by only a few, to be able to ferret out lies as they're being hatched, in this case by a kid who's been stealing his mom's pills and takes it on the lam, to Ratesic's joy, since "it's the part I like: pure law enforcement, my feet in the boots and the boots on the ground, me breathing heavy and charging after a liar." Alas, ev en in the independent nation called Golden State, there are those who would adorn and adjust the truth, even when it comes close to Ratesic—say, in the matter of the deceased brother for whom he continues to mourn. And are things really all that horrific out in the country that lies beyond the Shangri-La of free California, where the vaunted "Objectively So" may differ in kind and degree? Well, the mind plays tricks, and so does the tongue, and Ratesic finds himself caught up in a web that even he couldn't foresee. In some details, Winters' story might have fallen out of a forgotten file drawer at Philip K. Dick's pad, though Winters takes a less bleak view of humankind than the master of bad-vibes future California; though somewhat less surprisingly inventive than the author's Underground Airlines (2016), it's still a skillful and swift-moving concoction. For those who like their dystopias with a dash of humor. No lie. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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