Full disclosure, I was provided an advanced copy of this book by the author however I have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.
Welcome to New Hopeland – American Wasteland
Addict, is a new series by author Matt Doyle and follows Cassie Tam, a Chinese-Canadian transplant from Vancouver to New Hopeland, somewhere in the USA of the future. Built as the technological center of the area, New Hopeland is a mixture of the latest technology, with a few throwback items. It’s nice, but like all metropolises, there are problems. Traditional drug addicts have been replaced by Virtual Junkies; addicts on an entirely different level and Goth rockers have transformed into Tech Shifters; people who use specially designed mechanical suits to transform into all manner of animal forms. In the midst of all of this, the residents can only trust law enforcement about 50% of the time. That’s where Cassie comes in. She’s a Private Investigator who makes her living taking on all sorts of cases that the local Police Department can’t or won’t touch. When she is awoken one evening by the grieving sister of a recent VJ Overdose victim, Cassie feels this is an open and shut case. Another story of an addict found needle in hand, all she needs to do it prove it to Lori. But, as her investigation progresses, information is uncovered that suggests that Lori may be right. The more Cassie digs, the more things don’t add up, but will the truth bring her client peace or destroy her?
Cassie can be described as one part Blade Runner and one part Sam Spade. The opening sequence was reminiscent of classic noir movies where the ‘damsel in distress’ makes a midnight call to the local gumshoe to beg for their help. Cassie’s world is a perfect blend of new and old technology, where the doors unlock and open with a wave of the hand, but there is still a mail slot and venetian blinds are preferred over the standard metal sliders. New Hopeland itself is a blend of the future and the distant past. My favorite part of the book had to be Bert, Caz’s faithful companion – part watchdog, part pussycat, all gargoyle.
Cassie herself is a bit of an enigma. Daughter of a cop and out of her native land, Caz is guarded and a bit sarcastic as a defense mechanism. You can’t really blame her with all she’s been through both in her professional and private lives. As the case progresses, Caz finds herself in the one place she most likely doesn’t want to be and the fallout from a casual visit with her ex results in a return of painful memories. As Cassie tries to move on, she realizes that maybe there is more to her client than meets the eye and I’m pretty sure that scares her more than any bad guy. For someone who has never read much of the Cyberpunk genre and even less LGBT, Addict drew me in with a strong lead, a great plot and a killer twist. I’m sure we have barely scratched the surface with Cassie and I’m curious to see what New Hopeland, Lori and future cases have in store for her.