A blend of sci-fi and courtroom drama that takes readers into a brave new world of criminal investigation.
In New York state, the Osiris team, headed by prosecutor Freddy Logan, has racked up an impressive track record of convictions due to their access to a secret source of information. Logan prosecutes financial malfeasance as treason, and death sentences await those who are convicted. However, the Osiris team seeks a sentence of “death and seven,” which means that the bodies don’t have to be released for seven years, giving federal investigators plenty of time to “sift and grind through” seized materials “with unremitting precision.” The corpses are sent off to a hidden lab called Glimmer Development, where researchers Kenneth Conklin and Gregory Ellerby, in exchange for funding, use technology they’ve developed to extract damning evidence from their brains, which they forward to Osiris for future prosecutions. This unethical arrangement might have continued successfully for years, but then Amanda Wilson, an assistant at Glimmer, feels guilty about how one of the “patients” is treated and sends a letter to the dead woman’s lawyer. Then Kenny, jealous about Gregory and Amanda’s relationship, decides to become a whistle-blower; the problem is that he mistakenly approaches technology thieves instead of reporters. Debut author Welch does a thorough job of examining what can happen when science outpaces regulation, posing the age-old science-fiction question: Just because something can be done, should it? However, readers may find it hard to feel much sympathy for the victims in Welch’s scenario, who are consistently portrayed as the greedy few seeking to profit off of the honest many. The author conjures a realistic cast of characters, including scientists and lawyers who are more concerned with results than consequences as well as a handful of relative innocents caught in the middle. Cynicism, rather than morality, triumphs in the end; in a world of advancing technology, the dead can’t even take their secrets to the grave.
An inventive tale by a first-time author who’s off to a fast start.