This powerful cautionary tale mixes political satire and legal thrills in a near-future America where the existence of a Neanderthal threatens a government that has devolved into a “trailer park theocracy.”
When jaded Manhattan lawyer Raleigh is hired to represent a suspect accused of murdering a popular rap artist, he understands immediately that the case could interest Homeland Security. His client—nicknamed Blingbling—is described as a “crazy homeless retarded guy”; he has no Social Security number, license or Homeland passport. In a country where Patriot Amendments have been added to the Constitution to radically limit civil liberties and give Homeland Police unlimited jurisdiction over cases concerning national security, Raleigh knows that if Blingbling is involved in any terrorist activity, his own career—and his freedom—could be at stake. But the case becomes exponentially more complicated when a DNA test shows that Blingbling isn’t human: He’s a Neanderthal who, with the few others of his kind, has been secretly living in a “Nest” in an abandoned building in New York’s SoHo district. When, in an attempt to dismiss the case, Raleigh goes public with the revelation, he finds himself at the center of a national firestorm over the theory of evolution. “The mouth-breathers amended the Constitution just one step short of criminalizing modern science and here you go proving evolution,” Raleigh tells Blingbling. The political and social commentary throughout this unique novel is razor-sharp, as are uses of imagery and symbolism. The disturbing contrast of nonviolent, contemplative and deeply compassionate Blingbling to the brutality, apathy and ignorance of modern-day America is profoundly moving. One standout among many is a brilliant sequence in which Raleigh attends a bum fight—“illegal, but illegal the way whiskey was in 1924. And I make my living off the kind of people who in the Coolidge administration would have been meeting trawlers full of booze at midnight on the North Fork. Well, kind of like them. Just worse.”
A towering work of speculative fiction that will have readers rethinking what it means to be human.