cover image False Hearts

False Hearts

Laura Lam. Tor, $24.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8205-4

Lam (the Micah Grey series) sets this encompassing, fast-paced murder mystery in a cyberpunk, late 21st-century San Francisco. Conjoined twins Taema and Tila Collins live in the Mana Hearth’s cult in Muir Woods. Under the ruthless thumb of Mana-ma, no technology is allowed and members are subjected to mind-altering Meditation. When the twins’ shared heart fails, they escape to the city for separation and artificial hearts. Ten years later, Tila is charged with murdering Vuk, a gangster with the elusive Ratel crime syndicate. Taema goes undercover as Tila and discovers the underground drug Verve, which sucks users into a virtual reality nightmare of violence. Alternating first-person perspectives from each twin, Lam expertly explores themes of identity, totalitarian governments, cults, mind control, and familial love. However, readers who appreciate the accurate portrayal of San Francisco’s diverse populace—including the twins, who are Samoan and black—will be dismayed that the cover obscures the protagonists’ faces. Agent: Juliet Mushens, Agency Group. (June)