From Publishers Weekly
In this neat, high-concept thriller, Irvine (The Narrows
) introduces us to L.A. in the year 2040, where global warming and high-tech identity theft are daily facts of life. Martin Kindred, a mid-level insurance executive, works for a company pioneering a radical new prison cost-cutting program. Convicts serving life without parole are offered millions of dollars in exchange for immediately taking the needle, and Martin is tasked with vetting the prisoners for execution and presenting the awards to their beneficiaries. The controversial program immediately revitalizes the pro-life movement and puts increased strains on Martin's already fragile marriage. Then Martin's brother, a cop, is murdered and both the program and his life begin to unravel. This well-written, suspenseful and just slightly absurdist novel will appeal strongly to fans of classic dystopian science fiction with a smooth modern twist. (Apr.)
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Painfully honest and not necessarily apt to think things through, Martin Kindred is the only man in his family who isn’t a cop. He has a lot to prove, he thinks, and being hired to be the front man for life-term buyouts seems like the perfect opportunity. “Life-term buyouts?” With ever-rising prison populations, the only solution seems to be privatization. The question then becomes how to make a profit. The answer is simple: offer those serving life without parole early buyouts; that is, give the prisoner millions for any specified beneficiary in exchange for accepting lethal injection. Martin is buyout’s public face, who reaps the benefits of attendant popularity but takes the fall when things go wrong. The political underpinnings of the buyout system start to come clear when Martin lets it get personal. Irvine expertly manages an atmosphere of pressure and political machination to complement the development of a discomfiting imagined future. --Regina Schroeder