4 of 5 stars
The year is 2009, the United States is a defeated country, democracy is nearly a thing of the past. Argentina, the first country to successfully weaponize emotions by developing psychopigments (chemicals which can produce just about any human emotion upon contact) is largely in charge of the world since winning the Falkland’s War by utilizing these chemical weapons. The United States has since embraced psychopigments for their pharmaceutical uses as well as for recreational drug use—Sunshine Yellow for happiness, Magenta for obsession, Deepest Blue to wipe out memory.
A Psychopigment Enforcement team has become essential in the regulation of illegal pigment development and sales on the black market and our hero, Kay Curdita is an agent working outside of what used to be San Francisco-before it was destroyed by the pigment wars. When she encounters and follows an intriguing twist in what should have been a routine investigation, she is plunged into a case that has implications that could destroy the little piece of democracy that survives in the United States.
Part noir detective story and part science fiction with some twists worthy of a first-rate spy novel, this book is a thought provoking, engaging tale that is difficult to put down. Paz Pardo has created an alternate world that is believable and disturbing and filled it with fascinating multi-faceted characters. She skillfully builds the backstory of each character, giving just enough detail so that we can understand the relationships, without dragging the storyline. As she does this she also weaves a spell-binding tale that requires we consider a world in which the United States does not have the strength that it has today.
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