- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Mystery novelist Brendan DuBois makes a foray into the alternate timeline realm and gives us a gripping and chilling dark tale featuring Boston Globe reporter Carl Landry, who is on the trail of a government conspiracy. Somewhere between the gritty work of Andrew Vachss, the hard-boiled detective novels of Dennis Lehane, and the alternate history arena usually ruled by the likes of Harry Turtledove, Brendan DuBois has wedged himself firmly into the highest ranks of fine suspense writers and mined a fantasy noir niche all his own.
The time is 1972, ten years after the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into World War III. Russia has been all but obliterated, and many U.S. cities are no more than crater-strewn radioactive ruins. The U.S. relies on Great Britain for medical aid and food, and now exists in a state of martial law, with the government censoring all media. Kennedy and Johnson are presumed dead, although there's an underground of "true believers" who conclude that Kennedy is recovering from injury in a secret spot of safety and will soon rise to take command of a floundering America. The spray-painted words "he lives" can be found all across sides of buildings wherever one walks, but controlling the fate of America is the somewhat fascist General Curtis, who still wields military might.
Carl Landry, a former soldier who survived the worst of the war, is now a reporter with the Boston Globe. He's doing a story on murdered veteran Merl Sawson, a possibly unhinged man who swears he has an incredible story to tell Landry. Sawson gives only the vaguest suggestion that he's awareofthe true events that started the war back in '62. When Sawson is found with a couple of bullets in the back of his head, and Landry's editor at the Globe immediately spikes his story for "lack of space," Landry begins to suspect that perhaps Sawson actually did know something big. Soon he meets Sandra Price, a London Times reporter who is eager to do a story on America's present course, but who also oddly romanticizes the state of the country. Landry, who sees nothing romantic in the millions of dead and the U.S.'s weakened position in the world, freely speaks his belief that it's time that America stands or falls on its own, without European aid in any way. Together the two stumble deeper and deeper into various plots meant to keep their articles from print, and eventually they discover more bits and pieces of Sawson's conspiracy theories, which may not be so strange after all.
DuBois's attention to the seamy side of a bleak Boston is an irresistible draw; its ugly, perverse, yet sultry aspects bring new life to this war-torn city. As a soldier and a reporter who has seen it all, Landry knows the streets but still manages to hold to a particular code of honesty and good intent. Landry refuses to judge those around him, as he knows how difficult an existence this harsh life can be, and his willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt makes him something of a benefactor no matter what his official capacity is. The other primary characters, even those whose identities we aren't sure of at first, are all well developed and infused with their own idiosyncrasies.
DuBois knows how to build and nurture suspense, and the author refuses to allow any easy answers to come. The narrative passes and the mystery grows ever more convoluted and tangled, with secrets and conspiracies that reach to the upper echelons of world government.Resurrection Day keeps to a perfect blend of fact and fiction, giving us an alternate timeline that is readily believable and never falls into easy stock humor or retrospection. It would have been simple for DuBois to have made many 1970s fashion, music, or other social jokes to leaven the darkness inherent in the tale being told, but the author refuses to give in to such temptation. DuBois proves here that he is capable of turning out not only an excellent mystery novel but also a fantastic story that transcends the crime/spy/suspense/fantasy genres and works as a powerhouse novel that will leave the reader awestruck and panting for breath.