An old-fashioned hard-boiled thriller addresses up-to-the-minute political currents as seen from a short time in the future.
Rich Azadian is a news reporter who knows how to work a story, sifting through garbage cans and not letting go once he has a lead. It's 2023, and China has emerged as the true world power. The U.S. has created a Department of National Competitiveness to bring the country back from technological and financial brinks. Rich and his intern at the Kansas City Star are reporting on the murder of a bright, 20-something medical student, MaryLee Stock, who happens to have been pregnant. Maurice Henderson, chief inspector on the case, allows Rich access and surreptitiously helps him as the investigation quickly get blocked by the medical examiner, some goons in dark SUVs, the police hierarchy, and, eventually, the feds, who threaten to pull the Star's government funding (as the nation’s newspapers have finally succumbed to financial inefficiencies). The hunt through the Holy Virgin Church of Christ, where the victim was a member and designated “the chosen one,” leads to a fertility clinic, offshore ownership and a deeper mystery of genetic manipulation—the Genesis Code—that is part of a biological race with the Chinese. Metzl knows his science, and the detail is elegantly done while the novel moves at a nonstop pace over 41 days.
Metzl provides a believable look at a not-too-distant future where science, politics, religion, economics and the ability to report the “truth” are all inseparably bound together.