The Happier Dead

Ivo Stourton. Rebellion/Solaris (, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-78108-183-9

Rob Oates is a detective chief inspector in a miserable near-future London, where the air is filled with “dreems,” broadcast subliminal messages that turn imagination into consumer desire. Oates is tipped off to a murder in the gargantuan and mysterious Avalon, a spa where society’s wealthiest people isolate themselves and become “new-young,” their physical bodies rejuvenated. A spa staffer confessed to the client’s murder, but Oates suspects the man is lying. As the city trembles on the verge of a widespread riot, Oates’s investigation takes him through London’s extremes and his own tragic past. He must battle the lure of dreems and the possibility of being young again—a rebirth that would come at the cost of everything he cares about. Stourton (The Book Lover’s Tale) mostly uses the mystery as backdrop to an exploration of what people will endure or destroy to further their own agendas and desires. Agent: Peter Buckman, Ampersand Agency. (Feb.)