In post-apocalyptic Manhattan, antihero Dewey Decimal comes to the end of the stacks.
This is the final volume in a crisp dystopian crime trilogy by Larson (The Nervous System, 2012, etc.), so new readers are advised to start with The Dewey Decimal System (2011). Our narrator is many things: a black-ops veteran with a particularly gruesome set of combat skills; a slave to the obsessive-compulsive disorder that keeps him popping pills, rubbing on hand sanitizer, and organizing the stacks at the New York Public Library; and one of the most dangerous freelance assets in the city. Our man hasn’t changed in the interim—as the book opens, Dewey has his foot squarely on the throat of a soldier who's been marked for revenge. Dewey is a funny cat—a fiercely intelligent, multilingual man whose cynical, staccato lingo and casual violence belie his true character. “Well, I ask you now, you think I cherish these sorry situations?” he asks. “This lopsided sadism? Think I get jiggy on the misfortune of my fellow travelers? Not so, y’all, not so.” Dewey is still serving as muscle for corrupt Sen. Clarence Howard, who charges his hired gun with disrupting a group of anarchist squatters who are troubling the shadow government he serves. Secondly, Dewey finds himself tasked with protecting a pair of twins, Saudi royalty no less, in order to ensure the continuation of the family bloodline. As he gets closer to the truth about his part in his city’s misfortunes, Dewey also struggles with his own place in this dark metropolis. “Oh, I’m know I’m a monster,” he admits. “The question is, am I just garden variety, like everybody else—like I did what I done to keep kicking? Or, despite my Code, despite my System, do I carry a yawning black abscess where my soul should be, burning with fever, flush with infection?”
A sharp and satisfying conclusion to one of the most unique hard-boiled arcs in recent memory.