The Forever Watch

The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

The Noah: a city-sized ship half-way through an eight hundred year voyage to another planet. In a world where deeds and even thoughts cannot be kept secret a man is murdered; his body so ruined that his identity must be established from DNA evidence. Within hours all trace of the crime is swept away hidden as though it never happened.

Hana Dempsey a mid-level bureaucrat genetically modified to use the Noah's telepathic internet begins to investigate. Her search for the truth will uncover the impossible: a serial killer who has been operating on board for a lifetime... if not longer.

And behind the killer lies a conspiracy centuries in the making.

When I read about the release of The Forever Watch I was very excited. There are three letters in the synopsis that got me stoked. DNA. And finding out that David Ramirez is an ex-scientist in the field of Molecular Biology I knew that this would be an excellent read with top notch scientific lingo and facts straight, I am also an molecular biologist and when I read a story wherein these kind of things aren't the least related to the read deal it annoys me. The Forever Watch is also David Ramirez's debut into the SF genre fiction. Just a mention up front. This is the new kind of science fiction that you will be dying to read, it's evocative and in the end hauntingly beautiful.

The Forever Watch tell the story of the space ship Noah and it's inhabitants that travels from a destroyed earth to the new promised land of Canaan.  In the midst of this all you find the young Hana Dempsey, who works as a city planner aboard the Noah and is gifted in many fields as an hackers, economist and psychic. The story opens with Hana giving birth to a child and I did find this mildly disotrubing but intriguing at the same time, every female is tasked with carrying and delivering a child once in a while, in order to keep the Noah full of new life. They are on a 800 year voyage to a new plant. Soon after Hana has gotten her life back on track, the child was taken from her, she is confronted with a murder case and her latter trait, that of being pshycic/telepathic soon becomes needed when the murder case becomes unexplainable. This raises many questions since every thought by a person on board the Noah is registered... Hana is asked by the police officer Leonard Barrens to help find the murderer, it's his mentor that was murdered. From this point onwards the whole story is thrown over it's head (in a good way!). The explanation that is given by the Information Security, the department that governs all the information on the Noah, is that the murder has been Retired, so simple taken out of the picture. However Hana and Leonard don't take this answer as one that even sounds plausible. And as Hana and Leonard carry out there investigation they delve into a pit that they hadn't thought existed. Now don't think that this is just one simple murder investigation story. Like I already mentioned as Hana and Leonard delve deeper and deeper into this investigation they find out the true inner workings of the Noah and the reason why they left Earth behind for pastures new. This all was a lot darker than I had dared to even imagine. This is only the rough outline of The Forever Watch, if I would go deeper into the details that make this a perfect story it would definitly spoil the surprise for you but let me tell you this when you read the plot twist at the end you will find your self staring, mouth a gape, and saying what and rereading it it, it did it... good stuff and very original! The story of The Forever Watch is pretty heavy on the science element, directly to my liking! 

The protagonist of The Forever Watch, Hana, makes up for an interesting perspective. As mentioned above her introduction was first as a birthing mother, after which her child was taken from her to be raised by others and she is just given some meds to shrug it of an continue working. If this doesn't get to you I don't know what will. David Ramirez does an excellent job in highlighting how tough this part is on Hana, she finds it hard to accept but does come over it a bit.. at least so it seems.. nearing the ending a whole floodgate it opened ripping Hana apart again by these thoughts. With showing Hana in this way, David Ramirez immidiatly creates a powerful character. Hana is gifted in many fields, but mostly the direct science fields and when she gets involved with the police officer Leonad Barrens, she starts to unfold her emotional side and for some thoughts she doesn't know how to go about them. This duality with her thoughts gave Hana's character a nice extra few layers of complexity. She readily drives the story forward with her actions, and the best thing is that she isn't a sherlock type of detective and she get wrong on some occasions keeping the storyline interesting and unpredictable. The secondary cast like Leonard and many other all help to further broaden the scope of the story. Leonard's is a police officer in everything that he does and is termed a bruiser able to burn immense amount of calories to enhance himself with sheer strength of supernatural speed. And with this he might come over as a person who only lives for his job, that of maintaining order and catching bad guys, but as soon as he meets Hana, his perspectives do change a little, especially when they get closer with their complex relation. Though the characters are a bit limited, this did allow David Ramirez to fully focus on developing them and this was done in a great way. With almost each page you learn something new about a character and just as with the clever storyline, this keeps the whole story engaging from start to finish. 

There are many cool idea's all working in the favor of The Forever Watch and gives a real boost towards the science fiction genre. David Ramirez creates an interesting society of of enhanced humans on board the Noah, I have already mentioned that Leonard was a bruiser, well Hana has the touch, gifted by telepathy amongst others. Well this was achieved by genetic modification... This particular topic is of hot debate in our own society and inspires for me always a nefarious air when used in the correct way its basically tinkering with genetics in a way for your advantage and is playing god. It really comes to show that David Ramirez knows what he is talking about and the scientific plot twist in the end about the inhabitants of the Noah and the G0 and G1 generations and how it is all passed along literally blew me away. This is the kind of hard hitting science that I want to read about. It makes you stop an wonder. I know it's fiction, but with our own advances in several fields... how long until we are augementing ourselves in this way. It's cool to think about but also pretty dangerous stuff! 

However building a story on heavy hitting science elements can be a drag to get through but luckily here David Ramirez shows that he also knows how to write. David Ramirez's writing style flows natural and his usage of words produces an engaging and highly addictive narration.There are a lot of terms used in The Forever Watch, and on the first it might seem to overwhelm you but later David Ramirez explains a lot of these terms in a natural way and not giving you an information dump of everything. I think this was a big plus of The Forever Watch, hereby it is not only limiting it to the die hard science fiction fan but producing an terrific story for a much broader audience. In the ending the book, the tables are turned and David Ramirez transforms his story from heavy science fiction into an strong emotional rollercoaster and will definitly make you stop and think about Hana and all the others aboard the Noah.

With The Forever Watch, David Ramirez creates a powerful and unique entry into the dystopian science fiction genre. I am always on the look for books that have a heavy science influence,being a scientist myself it is something that I really enjoy reading about. I have encountered a few wherein the author itself had facts checked by people in the field, but David Ramirez was able to use his own background when setting up this story, and I have to say I was very impressed with the ideas he brought to life. For some readers it might seem like another fiction story but our technology is advancing as well... What makes The Forever Watch even better is that it is David Ramirez's debut, and he hits all the right snares: an interesting, unpredictable story, well developed characters and an amazingly rich storyline. The Forever Watch is a rich and evocative story, is has many dark influences and in the end everything comes together producing an hauntingly beautiful story. Definitely recommended.


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