A town’s residents battle over the last piece of valuable property in this novel.
In 2027, Emily Cooper feels drawn to Breckenridge, Colorado—beckoned there by elliptical dreams. She finds old letters written by her grandfather, Isaiah Copper, claiming that he hid a valuable nugget of gold in a chapel that he built in the town years ago. After attending art school in Rhode Island—she makes Japanese pottery—she moved to New York City, but she couldn’t get accustomed to metropolitan life. Now she dreams of buying the chapel and using it as an art studio. However, she discovers that the land upon which the chapel is built is worth millions, and nearly everyone in Breckenridge seems to have an eye on it. William Janis, the chapel’s rector, wants to build a high-tech, modern church facility, and Mayor Ladd teams up with a shady real estate developer looking to build a ski resort. Prescott “Hucker” Anderson, the owner of a high-priced home for the elderly, aims to use the property to open a hospice, hoping that a permissive euthanasia law will allow more rapid turnover of aging clients. However, Al Holland, who owns the property, is indifferent to wealth; he’s more interested in the health of the community. He immediately takes a shine to Emily, who moves into the chapel—making her a target. Author Champorcher (The Vatican Strategy, 2014, etc.) delivers a lighthearted but action-packed thriller. He has a particular talent for seamlessly combining comical high jinks with violent drama: sometimes Emily’s life is threatened, and at other times, she’s making wisecracks to her new sidekick, Stephen “Bear” Chen, a once-successful musician who now refuses to play in front of large groups. Also, with its futuristic tale, the novel inventively captures a world that’s dominated by a sizable elderly population—the direct result of advances in medical science. However, the plot eventually becomes taxingly complicated, and a subplot involving Buddhist monks and reincarnation is simply gratuitous.
A funny and thoughtful portrayal of the not-too-distant future.