Series: The Mutant Files #1
Published by Ace on January 27, 2015
Genres: Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Sexual Content: Sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kim
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…
DEADEYE, the first book in The Mutant Files series by Dietz, has a kick-ass cover, a potentially awesome premise, and not much else.
The setting, a disease ravaged, separated America is incredibly complex, and the author tries to fit it all in. I lost count of how many different gangs were mentioned, I stopped caring how many different empty-shell towns the characters raced through, and I gave up trying to figure out where the borders between the different new countries were.
There was so much information that turned out to be trivial by the end of the book that I stopped absorbing it. There is a literal war escalating while the events of DEADEYE unfold, and other than showing that the world is in chaos, it added nothing to the plot.
Cassandra Lee, the main character, is flat. She is anti-social, nasty to her boss and her co-workers, and wasn't even that close to her own parents, but every one seems to grunt and ignore it because she's a good shot and manages to solve crimes (by shooting at the problem, usually). She was so devoid of any humanity that I was surprised when two of the guys in the book declared their love for her – there is nothing to love. This is one of those books where the characters will say they fall in love, instead of showing you an evolution of their relationship.
Another issue is the constant change of point of view. You get to see Cassandra's point of view for most of the book, but the author switches to dozens of other points of view throughout: Cassandra's partners, her boss, the rival police chief, the bad guy, the bad guy's lackey, the kidnap victim, the gang leader, the gang leader's lackey... As if that wasn't enough, you also get two to four paragraph changes of point of view from characters who get shot or murdered by the end of it. Every one of these shifts was jarring, and made me feel less attached to the secondary characters, since I knew they could be killed instantly.
Readers are even treated to the point of view of the Bonebreaker, who I thought would be a bigger deal considering how much of the book description is dedicated to him. Cassandra manages to have multiple close calls and even a run-in with the Bonebreaker, yet for most of the book she doesn't share any of this information with the other police officers, because they might pull her off the case she is on, or she feels she doesn't have enough information. It was ridiculously unbelievable. The lone-wolf cop character can be interesting, but she was just making stupid decisions regarding both her safety and the safety of all police officers she worked with.
The most annoying thing, for me, was that Dietz seemed uninterested in creating a believable mutant plague. Some mutants are carriers of this airborne plague, which means that any mutant coming into the non-mutant zone must wear a full burqua-like suit. They need to stay in special zones, which are locked down every night. “Norms” going into a red-zone must wear nostril filters and masks, in order to avoid breathing in the toxic plague. The author goes into a lot of detail about the special restaurants where norms and mutants can eat together at, with a barrier between the two, and Cassandra packs her own food when she goes into the red zone...and then Cassandra has sex with a mutant. Multiple times. They don't kiss, but I still can't imagine that intercourse would be safe if they won't even eat in each others' immediate presence. It was such a jarring change of habit from the rest of the story that it completely ruined the feel of the paranoid, sterile world Dietz was trying to create. What is the point of only drinking through your special mask-straw if you are going to share bodily fluids?
The reason I think this book made me so frustrated is that there was potential, and that I have seen these kinds of complicated medically-paranoid worlds built successfully by other authors. All in all, DEADEYE was not worth the frustrating read, cool cover or not.
- For another series by the same author, try the Legion series by William Dietz.