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Blind Traveler Down a Dark River (Blind Traveler Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 215 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Mr. Bennett takes the reader into the world of a blind person and vividly brings that world to life.
Most important, Mr. Bennett creates a plausible murder mystery set in a all too real future (given the recent events in Japan). With rich character development and a true eye for detail, Bennett weaves a fascinating tale that takes the reader on a memorable ride!
I typically read history books, so when I take a break and read a novel I want a pager turner. "Blind Traveler" delivers big time. I read this book in about three nights. In fact, I spent my work day thinking about what was going to happen next in the book!
Five thumbs up! For $4 on Kindle you cannot go wrong and you will not be sorry.
I hope this book is made into a movie... it would certainly be better than most of the pablum Hollywood is spitting out nowadays.
The reader needs to accept that this near-future earth is close enough in time that the 1990s GPS satellites are still used as a historical touchpoint, but earthquakes have increased in frequency all over the planet, and faultlines that are currently dormant, have become violently active.
It turns out that the earth's magnetic poles have reversed. Again. A once every 700,000 years or so event. But okay, I read science fiction. I can go with this. It's an explanation. I just needed it a little sooner in the book than half-way through.
Back to the story. About those GPS satellites...take GPS technology and imagine how far it can go into the future. What if everything had an active GPS tag, including moving vehicles. Including people. If cars could sense other cars, buildings, and people, then cars wouldn't need drivers. Driver-less taxis and buses.
Personal GPS devices. Personal navigators for the blind. Better than any cane, even one with radio and sonic devices. Not as cuddly as a dog, but with a much longer life expectancy.
What happens if the programming on the navigator glitches, and gets its signals from the wrong street? A person might walk into traffic instead of away from it. A person might "witness" a murder they didn't see. And no one would believe them.
That's what happens to Douglas Abledan. A blind computer genius who figures out that the event he witnessed was a murder, and not the drive-by shooting the police claim it was. Abledan knows all about drive-by shootings, and exactly how much, or how little effort the police put into solving them. He lost his sight in a drive-by shooting.
He's compelled to solve this murder. No matter what it takes. And no matter how much his lack of sight, lack of experience, and lack of resources hamper his investigation.
Then there's the murder he's investigating. Earthquakes can be devastating, particularly when they are hitting densely populated areas that contain buildings that were never intended to be earthquake-resistant. People are dying (Think of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and move the devastation to 21st century New York City. Groan loudly for emphasis)
But changing construction materials and methods always causes disruption to jobs. A lot of power and money is involved. Secret government project money, environmental protest groups and union bosses afraid that union members will lose out if new materials use different processes. There's more than enough motives for murder.
Abledan is going up against some very big boys and girls. And he can't even see them coming to get him.
Escape Rating C+: The setup is interesting, once you get past trying to figure out when this takes place and how the world got into the fix it's in. I had the feeling that the author had some very cool ideas, and needed certain tech in place to make them work. As a reader, I just needed to know how the world got that way much earlier.
Douglas Abledan is an amateur detective who gets caught up in the thrill of the chase. As such, he's a member of a long line of private eyes, no matter how ironic that moniker might be in his case. For this series to continue Abledan needs to have a few more people to interact with who are a little more sympathetic than Speckler, the researcher who helps him figure out some of the ins and outs of his Navigator.
I found the reasons for the murder all too believable, with or without the near-future technology. But then, human nature doesn't change. What made the story different was the detective. Douglas Abledan working both with his limitations, and rising above them. Also his determination to solve this crime, because his own case was never resolved.
Originally published at Reading Reality.
First of all we have the character of John Haggerty, the CEO of Unimat. Unimat have been researching a product called Plasteel. Basically they have taken the best properties of steel and combined it with plastic. How futuristic is that? Secondly we have Douglas Abledan, a blind R & D guy who uses a technology called the Virtual Sight GPS unit to help him get around. Again how futuristic does that sound? So how does this become a crime novel.
Well John Haggerty gets shot in a seemingly random drive-by shooting and Douglas Abledan witnesses it. Nobody believes that Douglas witness the murder, not even the police. How can a blind man witness a crime when he wasn't even in the area where it happened? Well basically his trusty Virtual Sight GPS unit malfunctions and tells him he's somewhere where he knows he isn't. So Douglas sets out to solve the crime himself. That is when this book becomes a crime novel. So how does Douglas go about solving this crime, well you're going to have to read the book to find out. All I will say is I couldn't stop reading.
This is a fantastic book from beginning to end. I liked all the characters but I like the character of Douglas Abledan more. I hope Robert P. Bennett writes more novels like this, as I will definitely be buying them. This is a must read for fans of science fiction and crime novels, although I think anyone would enjoy it.
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