The Last Exit: A Jen Lu Mystery

Michael Kaufman. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-64385-567-7
This outstanding series launch from Kaufman (The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars), a sci-fi mystery set in the near future, introduces Jen Lu, of the Washington, D.C., PD’s Elder Abuse Unit, and her wisecracking sidekick, Chandler, an AI neocortical implant. In the U.S., the spread of advanced AI has caused unemployment to skyrocket, and an epidemic of an encephalitis variant is causing havoc. Parents can now, before they turn 65, opt for euthanasia so that their children can receive a modified longevity treatment once reserved for the super-rich, which would protect their offspring from the epidemic. Jen, who’s tasked with probing parents who refuse to accept the deal, learns that a product called Eden may be circulating that’s rumored to give anyone access to a long life. Her investigation becomes more urgent after people start aging rapidly, possibly as a result of using Eden. Exceptional worldbuilding (a court decides that personal service robots can’t be compelled to testify against their owners) is complemented by sympathetic characters and suspenseful plot twists. Kaufman is a writer to watch. Agent: Ginger Curwen, Julia Lord Literary Management. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 10/21/2020
Release date: 01/12/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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