Saturday, December 29, 2018

Book Review: The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn

The Wild Dead
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Series: Bannerless Saga (Book 2)
Publication: John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books (July 17, 2018)

Description: A century after environmental and economic collapse, the people of the Coast Road have rebuilt their own sort of civilization, striving not to make the mistakes their ancestors did. They strictly ration and manage resources, including the ability to have children. Enid of Haven is an investigator, who with her new partner, Teeg, is called on to mediate a dispute over an old building in a far-flung settlement at the edge of Coast Road territory. The investigators’ decision seems straightforward — and then the body of a young woman turns up in the nearby marshland. Almost more shocking than that, she’s not from the Coast Road, but from one of the outsider camps belonging to the nomads and wild folk who live outside the Coast Road communities. Now one of them is dead, and Enid wants to find out who killed her, even as Teeg argues that the murder isn’t their problem. In a dystopian future of isolated communities, can our moral sense survive the worst hard times?

My Thoughts: Investigator Enid of Haven and her new partner Teeg are called to mediate a dispute about property in one of the more isolated communities on the Coast Road. Enid thinks it will be a good beginning investigation for her green partner and not to time consuming which will fit in with Enid's wishes to be home when her housemate has the baby that her family has been so eager for. But the investigation quickly takes a more serious turn when the body of a young woman is found in the marshes that the community combs for salvage.

The problem is that no one admits to knowing who she is. She is apparently from a wild settlement somewhere off the road. Enid begins an investigation to find out who murdered her while her partner Teeg isn't sure that it is any of their business. They are charged with taking care of those who live along the Coast Road.

Enid begins by questioning all of the households to see what she can learn and uncovers tensions still present from an investigation 20 years earlier when one woman cut out her birth control implant which is very much against the law. This led to splitting up the household and continuing suspicion of the woman and her new household.

This is an interesting world. It is post-apocalyptic. Most technology is gone. People are living with quotas and rules to preserve the environment. The original investigation is about whether or not to use resources to preserve a pre-Fall house that has been in a man's family for generations. The house is on the verge of falling down a cliff as a result of mudslides and erosion. The owner feels he is letting down his father if he doesn't preserve it but the community feels that it is long past saving.

A key point in this world has to do with babies. In order to receive a banner which is permission to have a child, the household has to show that they can feed and support a child. Gaining a banner is a matter of pride and accomplishment. One of the woman who cut out her implant's punishment was that she and the household she joined could never get a banner.

I enjoyed seeing Enid investigating the death of the young woman. She was tenacious. She also had a need to find out the truth. Her attitude was in stark contrast to that of Teeg's who would have been happy to take the easy solution on move on.

An interesting main character and an interesting world were the strong points of this post-apocalyptic mystery.

Favorite Quote:
Finally, Neeve said softly, anxiously, "Can we go look? I...I'd like to look."

"You think you might know her?" Teeg said, leaning in, maybe a little too excited.

Mart said, "The others probably told you, wild folks come here to trade sometimes. We might recognize her at least."

Finally, something solid. A line of information that didn't end in I don't know.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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