A nameless investigator dogs New York streets made even meaner by a series of near-future calamities.
Sometimes he calls himself Donny Smith after the name on his phony ID. Sometimes he calls himself Dewey Decimal after his passion for rearranging the disordered books in the Fifth Avenue branch of the New York Public Library. But he never calls himself by his real name, because he lost it in the endless disasters—a series of explosions, three economic collapses, the invasion of the Superflu—spun out of “the 2/14 Occurrence(s)” that decimated New York’s population. Now Daniel Rosenblatt, the unelected D.A. who seized power amid the post-apocalyptic rubble, needs the obsessive system-builder for another routine errand: to make sure community leader Yakiv Shapsko, a Ukrainian émigré, doesn’t do any more union organizing. Dewey, bent on murder, finds Shapsko, loses him, then goes to his home and finds his wife Iveta, who’s well able to take care of herself. After Shapsko tries to hire Dewey to kill Iveta, and he returns to his own office only to find three intruders there, Dewey realizes he’s stepped into something bigger and darker than he’d imagined—something presumably connected to Iveta’s ex-lover, shadowy Serbian warlord Branko Jokanovic. The complications that follow mostly involve well-armed thugs and conspirators going to early graves, most of them sent there by Dewey.
When it comes to plotting, film composer Larson is content to follow Raymond Chandler’s dictum, “When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun.” But his dystopia is bound to win fans with strong stomachs.