Thursday, March 13, 2014

RedDevil 4 by Eric C. Leuthardt

In the year 2053 technological advancements have made vast and wondrous strides. Neuroprosthetic implants allow for instant contact and up-to-date access to news and information, medical advancements mean almost instantaneous diagnoses, and one scientist has almost succeeded in creating artificial intelligence. But some do not see this as advancement. Some believe this new world is an abomination. Religious leaders prompt followers into very public and sometimes violent protest while the other side of the spectrum would see everyone connected in one vast network. In the midst of all of this, a series of murders has the police baffled. Three similar crimes all at the same time in three different locations. And in each case the killer was apprehended. There's no doubt the cases are connected but can the police figure it out before there are more deaths?  

This tv season I've gotten completely hooked on Fox's new sci-fi police procedural Almost Human. All along I've been longing for something along those lines to read as well and Eric C. Leuthardt's RedDevil 4 seems to be exactly that!

Apparently Leuthardt is a neurosurgeon. I admit this was something of a concern for me as a reader - I've definitely come across some professionals who are easily able to plot and write great fiction while integrating their profession and knowledge into the story but I've also read others where the focus becomes too much on the author's day job and less on the actual storytelling. Fortunately Leuthardt seems to have the balance down pat. Be warned, though, the science is quite heavy in this one; there was a lot that went over my head in terms of actual explanation behind the tech and the drugs. On the flip side, the actual mystery is really intriguing and in spite of the complicated dollar words (I'm exaggerating a little) the plot moves rather quickly.

Sections alternate between a number of characters, especially in the beginning with The Chameleon, Hagan, both of the Devrons, Krantz, etc. The character list does whittle down some as the various victims start to fall! And the crimes (and the descriptions of the scenes) are pretty brutal.

All in all, RedDevil 4 is a smart debut and a great futuristic twist on a classic police procedural theme.

Rating: 4/5

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