cover image Please Do Not Ask for Mercy as a Refusal Often Offends

Please Do Not Ask for Mercy as a Refusal Often Offends

Paul Bassett Davies. Lightning, $15.95 trade paper (420p) ISBN 978-1-78563-185-6

A detective investigating a murder unwittingly pulls back the curtain on his dystopian world in this thrilling sci-fi mystery from Davies (Dead Writers in Rehab). The residents of Landmass are the last inhabitants of Earth following a devastating flood hundreds of years earlier. Their religious teachings hold that they were saved by the gods Upstairs Mum and Dad and their son, the prophet Shadbold. After a man is publicly executed for blasphemy against these teachings, his widow,Wanda , turns up murdered and Detective Kilroy takes the case. Suspicion falls on Wanda’s 13-year-old daughter, Sheba, and Kilroy is tasked with tracking down the missing girl—but soon learns that his employers want Sheba for more than murder. She knows the truth about Landmass’s creation myth; the world was saved not by gods but by power-mad scientists who now monitor its inhabitants from satellites. Though billed as darkly comic, there’s very little humor in evidence to leaven Davies’s grim, noir tone. The ending is disappointingly abrupt, but the intrigue and excitement of getting there makes this well worth the reader’s time. Davies knows how to keep the pages flying. (Oct.)