Golden State

Ben H. Winters. Mulholland, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-50541-3
This disappointing postapocalyptic thriller from Edgar winner Winters (Underground Airlines) boasts an irresistible setup: in the near future, California is a sovereign state governed by absolute truth, and telling a lie can result in jail time or worse. Laszlo Ratesic, a veteran police officer whose innate ability to know when someone is lying helps him piece together unsolved crimes, investigates the death of a construction worker who fell off of a roof during a job. The seemingly accidental fatality is filled with anomalies, which leads Ratesic and the young female officer he’s mentoring to uncover a grand-scale conspiracy with staggering implications. While the story, in which every second of the populace’s lives is meticulously recorded, is tonally comparable to Orwell’s 1984, the thematic impact simply isn’t there. Some of the societal elements seem contrived, such as how every citizen must archive every single life event in a journal, and the reveal at the end is too nebulous to be completely effective. Winters’s exploration into the nature of truth will grip many readers, but this ambitious novel misses the mark. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Assoc. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2018
Release date: 01/22/2019
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-316-50543-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-1774-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-4956-6
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