cover image Shades: The Gehenna Dilemma

Shades: The Gehenna Dilemma

Eric Dallaire. If Tales, $15.99 trade paper (330p) ISBN 978-0-9961811-0-5

This impressive debut deftly incorporates near-future technology into a suspense plot. In the year 2039, the dead are pressed into service as “shades”—zombie slave laborers working off their unpaid debts. Jonah Adams works as an agent for the Incorporeal Revenue Service, impounding delinquent corpses. His girlfriend, Vanessa, is a lawyer who specializes in Afterdeath Debt Reconciliation and Remediation. When Vanessa disappears along with the bioengineer who pioneered shade technology, Jonah, abetted by his indefatigable AI, Sasha, follows their trail from Earth to the moon and into a web of intrigues spun by a sinister corporate culture that has become desperately dependent on cheap shade labor. Dallaire torques his tale with sinuous twists that keep the reader guessing. His real achievement, though, is his credible rendering of a world in which virtual reality and avatar technology are so rampant that it’s hard to tell what’s real from what isn’t—much to the benefit of this craftily plotted futuristic crime thriller. (BookLife)