In the distant future, a pair of skilled individuals seek a man harboring incriminating info on powerful men.
In Chauncey’s (The Hidden Society, 2017, etc.) sci-fi tale, set in the 31st century, Lyle Morton’s been working at the Department of Information for over 20 years. But Lyle isn’t his real name. After stumbling across dangerous information in the Hong Kong office, he faked his death to protect his family. Resurfacing and getting a job at the headquarters in Crown City, the capital (near Denver) of the United World Government, Lyle slowly and furtively compiled the classified info. Saved on a glass crystal, the particulars are damning to men in power known as the five, who’ve committed atrocities to maintain their positions in the United World. Aware of what someone’s stolen, the five, led by Paul Simpson, enlist two former employees to get it back: tracker/hunter Lee Adams and hacker Evelyn Summers. But their search is monitored by the five’s minions, who’ll most likely kill them once they find Lyle. But Lee and Evelyn hope to team up with Lyle and use the information against the five. Chauncey’s futuristic backdrop smartly feeds into fears of today—a lack of privacy; Lee and Evelyn go to great lengths to disable various tracking chips or devices. And though the five’s evil plot isn’t hard to figure out, especially with an early hint, the inevitable reveal makes the baddies suitably methodical. Some tech and corresponding jargon, however, is off. Com-cells (computer-cells) don’t differ much from smartphones, and characters use “download” for any information transfer, including uploads. Regardless, there’s plenty of action (someone’s pursuing someone else for much of the narrative), while possible dissension among the five only adds to the overall unease.
Comes up a little short on certain genre elements, but the pace and ambience are rock-solid.