Book Review: Deadeye

Deadeye by William C. Dietz, The Mutant Files #1

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.

In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…

I think last year I started reacing William C. Dietz' Legion series. I started with the prequel series that featured Andromeda McKee, who had to venture through a more than hostile territory. After reading the first book I was completely taken by the story and writing of William C. Dietz. Very powerful and strong characterization. Just recently I found out that he has started a completely new series, The Mutant Files, which takes place in our near future. 2038 to be exact. And this world has been changed. Changed quite a lot. This is the first book in the series, Deadeye.

The story of Deadeye focuses on female detective Cassandra Lee. Cassandra serves for the Los Angeles Police Department in the Special Investigative Section (or SIS). This unit takes on the special and hard cases. The beginning of the book really serves as a start up of the story. Cassandra meets up with her new partner Conti. Cassandra is used to draw her own plan but her new partner, wants to be on her goodside, a lot of man are after Cassandra as she is quite good looking. Anyway, there start isn't without any problems but slowly they change in what might become a good duo. However one day, they encounter a robbery with nine armed men, during a shoot out, Conti gets killed in the crossfire. Now this is somewhat of an important point for Cassandra's character as she does change her behavior, she comes on time to the briefings of the chief. After recuperating from her loss Cassandra gets assigned a new task a missing persons case. The daughter of a well known and respected Bishop is kidnapped and taken in to the Redzone (will get to that in a minute). Now Cassandra has to find a way to rescue this young girl. Once again she isn't at this task alone, Cassandra gets a new partner, but this time around not a normal human but a mutated one, Ras Omo. Being a mutant does offer an advantage in the Redzone and being a human offers only disadvantages. Cassandra is placed in a more than hostile environment and has to rely solely on her own skills to get out there alive. Will she be able to find the kidnapped girl or will she succumb to all the traps in the Redzone. 

Next to this main storyline there are also some sort of sidetracks that are put up early and the main one revolves around the death of Cassandra's father. He also was a cop, a well known and respected at that. Unfortunately he was murdered by a killer who goes about the name Bonebreaker, his kills are far from pretty. The case is still ongoing but Bonebreaker is hard to find, he will most likely find you before you do him. Cassandra is determined to get to the bottom of it and find him, but in her quest she uncovers a truth and is confronted by some horrible things. It seems that the Bonebreaker is out to get her as well... 

Above I mentioned the terms: Redzone and Mutants, they must also have not escaped you attention in the synopsis of the book as well as the mentioning of a bioengineered terrorism attack. This is the promise and premise of the story. An attack changed the world forever. A terrorist let loose a deadly airborne bacteria known as Bacillus nosilla. Many people died, but perhaps worse than dying was the fate of the survivors. They changed. They mutated. The mutations range from harmless to servere, think extra arms or horrible disfigurements. Since the bacterial is so virulent special area's were designated for mutants to live in, the so called Redzones, where normals have to venture in with protective gear, where otherwise they may contract the disease as well. So what you can understand from this above is that the world isn't pretty. In the wake of the recovery of B. nosilla, a rise came in crime and gangs and this is what Cassandra is facing, serving to do just in a very hostile place. This world building alone is really interesting but there are some bits where it doesn't make a 100% sense. B. nosilla is highly contagious, it's airborne and normal people have to wear nose filters and mouth guards so as not to get infected. When Cassandra meets up with her new partner Omo, it's starts of as a work relation but soon get to be more, and they have sex, well what it could make up of it there wasn't any protection at all, ok granted they didn't kiss, but other fluids were exchanged. How can you then not get infected? There are some contradictions in the world building than could have been polished a bit more in my opinion. The world building is cool and William C. Dietz creates a dangerous premise but... to bad not completely linear. 

As for the characters I could clearly see some traits of Andromeda McKee in Cassandra. As I already metioned above, Cassandra changes along the story. I can imagine that in such a hostile environment you have to be able hard. Especially when you live in such an environment AND you are a female detective. It must be hard enough to be in in the normal world. Cassandra's character is strong, dominant and will do what ever it takes to complete her case. But she also thinks pretty highly over herself and that she can do everything according to her own rules. Like the introducing chapters with Conti and the Chief saying that Cassandra is always late for briefing. This confidence does boarder to overconfidence and I think that Cassandra has learned her lesson in this. After these events he character took a more reserved approach to her new task, also being placed in the Redzone a completely new environment it was good to see that she didn't do things blindly but in close collaboration with her more experienced partner. Next to Cassandra's point of view in there are also other characters that offer a perspective. Secondary characters that both had small and bigger role. In the beginning of the book, Cassandra's partner Conti offers a perspective and further on you have Omo and some of the criminals that are shown in more depth. I can clearly see the direction that William C. Dietz wanted to go into with these multiple persepctives and for the they worked really well. This is a nice way to broaden the storyline, showing what goes on in their minds and how they plan their next action. Even though some of the characters of lived relatively short it did help to broaden the story of Deadeye. 
When you take everything together in Deadeye, the storyline, the world and the characters it produces a actionpacked and entertaining book. William C. Dietz turned his SF in space to an more Earthly story, the build up and the promise of the story are very cool. And I do have to say that his characterization is once again spot on with his main lead, Cassandra Lee. The world that William C. Dietz envisions has a very cool promise, a bacterial agent that decimated the planet and left suvivors who contracted the plague horrible mutated. But there are some minor squabbles though, as I said above. I do have to say that the ending of the book is really cool and such a cliffhanger can only get you excited for the sequel. 

The audiobook of Deadeye is narrated by Christina Delaine, I was surprised actually I didn't read who narrated the book so was thinking to hear a male voice. I think it was very suited to have a female narrator as the protagonist of the story is also female, this made it much easier to connect with the story. Christina Delaine did a very good job in showing the different perspectives, most of these were male and they sounded that way as well. As for the action packed and tense moments of the book, it felt like I was really there next to Cassandra. 


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