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Deadeye (Mutant Files) by William C. Dietz
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Deadeye (Mutant Files)

by William C. Dietz

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Some have found Dietz's multiple point-of-view technique jarring; while I found it took some acclimation, it was interesting and lent a unique tone to the futuristic police procedural story being told. Others want to pick at the technical aspects of the interaction between contagious and non-contagious people, normals and mutants in the story, whereas I believe it to be completely imaginary and therefore unimportant. I found the book engaging, a quick, easy read, and entertaining. Therefore I'd recommend it for pleasurable reading. It is a story, not history, or a text book, read it in that light and I believe you will find it enjoyable. ( )
  dmclane | Mar 15, 2015 |
I really wanted to love this book. The cover is absolutely bad ass and the blurb grabbed my attention, so I was really excited to sink my teeth into this story. Well, it was a huge disappointment.

I have so many issues with this book that listing them all would make this review the size of a dissertation. So I will just enumerate what irked me the most.

The protagonist. If there was a competition of protagonists who make the worst possible decisions and try to get killed (sadly unsuccessfully) at every turn, Cassandra Lee will take the gold medal. Rushing straight into a firefight, though at least she had her bulletproof vest on, unlike her partner. Going alone to investigate a suspicious abandoned house. Getting involved with her mutant partner (more about that later). Generally rushing into without backup or even a sliver of a plan. Yep, that's Cassandra. A few time during the book I wished for a big boulder to fall on her head and grant her the dead wish she seems to have. Add to that the fact that she is rude and antisocial, and it's NOT someone whose story I really want to follow.

The multitude of POVs. Some of the POVs in this book were entirely unnecessary. Why give the widow of the killed mutant a point of view if she appears only for one scene and doesn't add anything remotely interesting or important to the story? And speaking of POVs, why give one to Cassandra's first partner if he gets killed in chapter 2?

And that's another one of my pet peeves. Why was that move necessary? Why bring him into the story at all, just to kill him off two chapters later? And give him such a stupid death as well. What experienced cop in his right mind would rush into an open intersection, guns blazing, against nine armed men? Without a protective vest to boot. Is it supposed to make me sad? Make me empathize with the protagonist and her loss? What loss though. She barely met the guy and didn't like him much. Needless to say that this move completely missed its mark.

The whole mutant / norms deal. The worldbuilding just doesn't make sense. All mutants can potentially carry the pathogen and there is no way of determining who is contagious and who isn't. In a sane world, all of them would be quarantined. Preferably behind a ten foot wall with barbed wire and decontamination stations all around. And nobody would be allowed in or out. What do we have in this world instead? Border zones where norms and mutants intermingle and trade without any protective gear. I mean yes, the mutant women wear something similar to a burka, but it sounds more to hide their deformities than to prevent contamination. And Cassandra ventures into mutant territories without any protective gear at all. That just makes no sense. Either they are contagious to norms and then the partial segregation makes sense, or they're not and then it doesn't make sense.

On that note, when Cassandra and Ras first start working together, they don’t even eat at the same table for fear of contamination. Yet later on they have sex. Hello, there is definitely exchange of bodily fluids during that act, unless both parties are wearing full body rubber suits. So how is sex okay when eating together isn't?

I could go on and on, but I think I will just stop now. Will I recommend this book to my friends? Hell no. ( )
  Elorenalory | Jan 31, 2015 |
William C. Dietz brings us an interesting new sci-fi police procedural series set in a plague-ravaged future. Those who survived the bioengineered threat of 2038 were either left completely unaffected or developed a wide range of disfiguring mutations, leaving a great divide – both socially and geographically – between the world’s “norms” and “mutants”. Relations between the two groups aren’t great, to say the least. Anti-mutant organizations sow hatred and incite brutal attacks and killings against mutants, making no small amount of work for Los Angeles detective Cassandra Lee who has built her reputation around taking down some of the city’s worst criminals.

When the daughter of Bishop Screed, leader of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped, all signs point to the work of mutants. Assigned to the case is Lee and her new mutant partner Deputy Ras Omo, who must race against time to save the young woman before she is sold and used for breeding by the ruthless human smuggling rings in the Red Zone. And if only that were the end of it. While chasing down leads, the two cops are also hounded every step of the way by Bonebreaker, the serial killer believed to have taken the lives of more than half a dozen police officers, including detective Frank Lee, Cassandra’s own father.

For a first book of a new series, Dietz has established quite a solid foundation for the world of Mutant Files, especially when it comes the social climate with regards to norms and mutants. Stigma is strong against the latter group, a lot of whom live in lawless and run-down “freak towns” where no norms fear to tread. To avoid catching the incurable disease, norms also wear masks and nose filters in the presence of mutants, and while most mutants wear masks too, they do so more to hide their terrible mutations. While world-building elements such as these are compelling, unfortunately they also come to the reader in a series of heavy info-dumps near the beginning of the novel, weighing down the introduction and making the first couple of chapters a slow read.

There’s quite a good story in here too, which, if not immediately apparent, does admittedly take a bit of effort to uncover. The major obstacle was once again the introduction, where I had a very difficult time adjusting to the writing.

Firstly, Dietz seems to have a fondness for frequent point-of-view switches, and not just between major characters. Every so often, minor characters and even random bystanders seem to feel the need to chime in for a paragraph or two, presumably so the reader can get a better feel of a situation by seeing it through their eyes. While I understood the intention, I didn’t think this was very effective and could have done with less of these seemingly arbitrary asides. And because they were often so short, rather than contribute to a scene I found them to be more distracting than anything.

Secondly, the author has a peculiar tendency to insert in-line explanations between parentheses in cases, say, where an acronym is being used or when a character says something in another language etc., and Dietz will place the translation right there in the middle of the prose and even dialogue. Not a big deal to some readers, perhaps, but for me it had a light immersion breaking effect. It would have been preferable if these explanations were naturally worked into the narrative, rather than placed glaringly between a pair of brackets. But then again, it’s also possible this may be changed in the finished book.

Without a doubt though, sandwiched between the beginning and end of the book is where all the good stuff is. The plot is entertaining and fast-paced, and kept me turning the pages once it got going. I did stumble again at the end when things wrapped up a bit too quickly and in much chaos, especially where the Bonebreaker aspect of the story was concerned, but generally I was quite pleased with the overall pacing as well as the characterization of Cassandra Lee, a badass female cop who is great at what she does. There’s always room for improvement when it comes to character development, but nonetheless I found myself greatly invested in Lee and Omo’s relationship.

I would rate this book between a 3 and 3.5 out of 5 stars if I could, with emphasis on the fact I really enjoyed the story but only after a fierce struggle with the writing. To be fair, most of my quibbles have to do with certain quirks of the author’s style, which may not matter as much to another reader. I’d definitely be open to reading the sequel, especially since there are still questions about the Bonebreaker that require addressing, and I’d be curious where those answers will take our protagonist. ( )
  stefferoo | Jan 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425273334, Mass Market Paperback)

The national bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned novels, "a must-read for any fan of Mil Fic," (Archaeologist’s Guide to the Galaxy) begins a brand new science fiction police procedural series...
In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by “norms” and lands run by “mutants”…
Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth. 
In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…
 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:59 -0400)

In the year 2038, an act of bioengineered terrorism decimated humanity. Those who survived were either completely unaffected or developed horrible mutations. Across the globe, nations are now divided between areas populated by "norms" and lands run by "mutants"... Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles's Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city's most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker, who murdered Lee's father, is still at large. Officially, she's too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she's going to hunt him to the ends of the earth. In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner, mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo, to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms.… (more)

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