Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Book Review: The Last Exit by Michael Kaufman

The Last Exit

Michael Kaufman
Series: A Jen Lu Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (January 12, 2021)

Description: Perfect for fans of Ben Winters and Cory Doctorow. In this thrilling near-future novel, the secret to eternal life is closely guarded by people who will do anything to protect it--even if it means destroying everything in their path.

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her 'partner', Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He's an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to "exit" so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying--is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen's investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by "the thing inside her brain." This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.

My Thoughts: This near-future dystopian mystery stars police detective Jen B. Lu and her partner Chandler who is a SIM implant in her brain. Unemployment is high, climate change is making Washington, DC, much hotter than it has ever been. And Jen's job with the Elder Abuse unit has her investigating a number of crimes where kids are pushing their parents to "exit" -- submit to euthanasia so that their children can take a longevity drug. 

Jen has her own issues with her mother who is suffering from dementia and nearing the time when Jen can sign for her exit. Jen is still dealing with all the various kinds of abuse she suffered at her mother's hand as a child and thinks the decision to end her mother's life will be easy. 

Then Jen starts hearing rumors of something called Eden which is supposed to be an underground longevity drug prepared outside of Big Pharm. But Big Pharm has heard the rumors too and has their own plan to discredit Eden. 

Suspended from the police department and with Chandler deactivated, Jen has to gather allies who are willing to fight to find answers. 

This was an engaging story about an undesirable future that still seems to be a possible extrapolation of current events if we don't make changes soon. Chandler tells the story which gives it a unique viewpoint. Fans of political thrillers in a dystopian setting will enjoy this story.  

Favorite Quote:
"Do you have a Bible?"

Olive looked offended. "Of course we have a Bible.Two. One in Spanish and one in the original English. I go to the Assembly Hall each and every week."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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