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Days of Atonement [Kindle Edition]

Walter Jon Williams
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Book Description

Loren Hawn is a traditional Western peace officer walking the streets of 21st Century New Mexico, and seemingly unaware that times have changed. And when a dying man named Randal falls out of a bullet-riddled car and dies in Loren’s arm, Loren finds he isn’t the only man living in the wrong time--- because he remembers pulling Randal’s dead body out of a wrecked car twenty years before.

He knows the car belongs to a scientist who works at the high-security laboratory built on the outskirts of town, and he knows that if he doesn’t work fast, all evidence of a crime will disappear into national security vaults. In order to bring justice back to his community, Loren will have to risk everything, his life, his job, his faith, and his family.

Roland Green wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times: "This is a novel that works marvelously on a variety of levels-- as an adventure story, a trek through personal entanglements, a study in detailed policed techniques and an enlightening lesson in theoretical science. And if that isn't enough, it also offers a totally unexpected ending."

This is one of Williams' finest works.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Williams's ( Angel Station ) flawed futuristic thriller is set at the beginning of the next century, during the "days of atonement" observed by the Church of the Apostles, a period of contemplation, each day devoted to one of the seven deadly sins. Loren Hawn, police chief of Atocha, N.M., is driven by overwhelming rage, religious fervor and the desire to "guard his marriage, his daughters, his community"; he styles himself "the sword and arm of the Lord." Then an experiment at the nearby Advanced Technology Laboratories leaves a body on Loren's doorstep--apparently that of a man who died 20 years ago. As Loren investigates the "John Doe"--is his appearance some sort of miracle?--he gradually comes to believe that he has been betrayed by all he cherished--his family, his town, his church. Ironically, he is right--ATL is involved in a crime--but Loren is over the edge. He is ultimately overtaken by rage and driven to a frenzy of murder and destruction. Although not completely successful in his portrayal of Loren's disintegrating personality, Williams does present a credible exploration of a near-future community.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The police chief of Atocha, New Mexico finds himself in trouble from all sides when his investigation of an impossible murder forces him to cross wills with a nearby research institute conducting secret experiments involving space and time. The author of Hardwired ( LJ 6/15/86) brings his gift for hardcore realism to this near-future tale of one man's confrontation with the unknown. For most sf collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 900 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FNQLTQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,761 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
(18)
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unlikely success. January 31, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I didn't expect to like this book. In fact, I left it sitting on my pile for months before I gave it a chance. An unlikely combination of police procedural and hard science fiction, this novel somehow manages to pull it all together perfectly, making it one of Williams' best (which is saying a lot). Try it
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent political/police-procedural/SF thriller September 7, 2002
Format:Hardcover
______________________________________________
Just a quick heads-up re this excellent New Mexico political/police-procedural/SF thriller, which I just reread.

It's a terrific page-turner -- kept me up til the small hours. I enjoyed it more the second time than the first -- I hadn't remembered it as being so good, and put it on the reread pile after someone online commented on how good the book is.

This is as good a portrayal of red rage as you're likely to see anywhere.

There are nits to pick -- a 3 digit code to unlock the heavies' Uzis! -- but they won't bother you during the read.

This was WJW's "crossover" novel before The Rift, and it's a far, far better book -- one of his best. Don't miss. Out of print, but readily available.

Happy reading--
Pete Tillman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, compelling characters, real tension May 14, 2011
By D. Read
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We see Days of Atonement's story through the eyes of the main character, who is a passionate, principled man who is also deeply flawed, deep in denial, and full of rage. His capacity for sudden violence is incredible, and he regularly crosses lines--yet he also cares deeply about order and tradition and community. He actively pursues goodness and redemption in his religion, family, and police work while he is at the same time immersed in a system of casual corruption. The complexity and inherent tensions in this main character forms the gravitational center of this excellent novel, the first I've read by Walter Jon Williams.

Williams masterfully builds the setting of the small New Mexico town and its inhabitants, its history, traditions, and hidden iniquities. The setting is essential to the drama of the story and the motivations of the character, and I found all of it plenty interesting myself. It might be too much setting, background, and character development for someone who is more interested in the speculative ideas, but without this immersion in this tiny town and its inhabitants, we wouldn't understand this character. And many elements important to the plot would have seemed contrived.

Williams knows exactly what he's doing. The technical aspects of the writing and plotting are solid, and the dramatic tension was pretty intense for me. At the same time, the story arises very organically out of this very powerful and complex main character. Williams is steering this thing, but this character drives it.

I suspect that if this book does not satisfy everyone, the dissatisfaction will in some way arise from the way Williams has mixed genres.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rambo vs Einstein May 21, 2008
By Vind3d
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Remember the small town cop from the first Rambo movie, First Blood? He's a good comparison of our main character, Loren Hawn, the small town, good ole boy, sheriff who gets things done, even if he has to break a few laws to do it.

He loves his family, his town, his way of life.

But forces come into play that try to upset everything.

Drug dealers, local teen hoodlums, mean drunks, crazy street people, eco-terrorists all turn on Loren and try to change his town and the people he has sworn to protect.

Then there is the strange goings on at the new local Physics lab. William Patience, Hawn's nemesis, is the head of security of the lab and does everything by the book, his book, that is.

On top of all the other problems for Loren there is the Murder. The recent murder of someone who died in a car wreck 20 years before. And Loren is sure Patience and his lab are somehow mixed up in it.

As Loren tries to find the killer many of the towns dark secrets are pushed out into the light. And his hard-knock methods cause his friends to turn on him.

But that's alright, Loren gets things done anyway as he sets out to right wrongs because he is the Sword and Arm of the Lord!

This book shows Walter Jon Williams' versatility as a writer. Although it has Sci-Fi and cyberpunk elements, it's really nothing like my other two favorite books of his, Voice of the Whirlwind, and Hardwired.

If you are fans of those works, be ready for a change of direction.

A fantastic story of one man's fight for what he thinks is right!Days of Atonement
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book!! August 2, 2000
By N Boren
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A wonderful and exciting novel with a lot of surprises. Hard SF meets the Southwest Law and Williams makes it interesting all the way through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting how science mirrors science fiction. November 16, 2009
Format:Hardcover
sooo.... great read, found it on the shelf at my forward operating base back in 2007, and it kept me entertained for a few days. the plot was great, lots of interesting turns, and I love the characters, particularly the ATL head of security..he's a pretty accurate representation of an SF washout if I've ever seen one. now as far as the Large Hadron Collider in the story, CERN just released some interesting info that suggests there may be some truth to the book's time travelling cows and people: They're detecting temporal distortions around the LHC, and found a piece of breadcrumb buried deep in the machine last year... you could write that off as a clumsy frenchman doing a working lunch... or consider that the physicists in charge of the machine are claiming it was somehow placed there in the manner that the cows, and eventually Loren were in the book.... food for thought. look it up on CNN after you read the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Fuzzy Focus
Small rural town police procedural? Science fiction? Decline of rural community? Bad old corporations? This well-written tale can't make up its mind.
Published 6 months ago by D. Mathiasen
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Version missing sentences
About half way through the book, the last sentence or two of each page are missing. Grrrrrrr. Loved the story, but it's frustrating to read without the missing parts.....
Published 11 months ago by M. Cramer
2.0 out of 5 stars The setting just wasn't for me, and the scifi was very small part of...
Whatever godforsaken hopeless place in the US this book describes, it's definitely something I as a foreigner cannot connect to, and don't even want to know about. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you crossbred SF, Western and religion?
Can you crossbred SF, Western and religion? - Williams can ' and he does it very well.
The classic middy dual - led by a highly complex physics, The sheriff and the gang which... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Henry H
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Not my usual genre, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. After reading and loving "Hard Wired," I wanted to check out more of Mr. William's work. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Curtis
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard Boiled Cop With A Twist
Williams is a very good writer, setting the geography and small town atmosphere superbly. It starts as a "procedural," with a dying man stumbling into the local cop shop. Read more
Published on November 8, 2012 by Crusty Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, unexpectedly engrossing novel
I had already read and loved Hardwired and Voice of the Whirlwind when I came across Days of Atonment. Read more
Published on September 24, 2012 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Seemed like a slow-starting neo-Western novel for a while. Not a lot of science, and not even all that fictional. Read more
Published on June 15, 2010 by SeaWalnut
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good Book
I read this book about 10 years ago when I was getting into the sci-fi genre and have loved it ever since. Read more
Published on January 12, 2009 by E. Metzler
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Excruciatingly full of American small town boring crap. If he wanted to write a book about a small town in New Mexico, fair enough, but why throw in the universe creating bit. Read more
Published on September 3, 2007 by Blue Tyson
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