Book - 2017
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"A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she's learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society. Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn't just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory. Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She's young for the job and hasn't yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid's world and make her question what she really stands for"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.
ISBN: 9780544947306
Branch Call Number: FIC VAUGHN
Characteristics: 274 pages ; 21 cm


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TSCPL_Miranda Apr 14, 2019

I absolutely loved this genre-bending murder mystery set in a post-apocalyptic future. Vaughn expertly layers a tightly plotted mystery with the world building and atmosphere of the best speculative/post-apocalyptic novels. In the area once known as California, the Coast Road cities share a cooperative system that includes population control and resource quotas. People live in households of cooperating adults, and must earn the right to have a child by demonstrating that they have the resources to care for one. Enid is a novice investigator in this world that no longer has the forensic technology that we count on now. Interviews and observation carry a lot of weight. Generally, investigators mediate disputes over resources, or investigate charges of surpluses or hoarding. Murder is rare. In this novel of the Coast Road, a suspicious death has occurred, and it is up to Enid and her longtime friend and investigative partner to determine what happened. As in the best post-apocalyptic, the details of the world after the fall emerge slowly, organic to the story, rather than in a front-loaded "this is the world we live in now" narrative. Slowly finding out bits of what happened, seeing ancient technology, seeing how people move forward--these are the elements that bring me back over and over to post-apocalyptic fiction. Shifting the focus of the plot to a specific event, a mystery, and then solving that mystery was a brilliant way to focus in on the action of the characters while letting the world load in the background. I immediately started the second Bannerless book, The Wild Dead, and I'm finding it just as immersive as the first. I have a feeling I'll finish that book still wanting more.

Feb 13, 2019

I have read other books by this author and have found them to be quite entertaining, so was very puzzled with this book as it clearly is lacking any previous talent shown by the author. Makes me wonder who actually wrote the book...? So boring and dull I couldn't get past the first 100 pages.

KCLSQueennie Oct 22, 2018

A very slow burn.

SCL_Justin Sep 26, 2018

This is a detective story set in a future. Unlike something like The Last Detective, this happens a few decades after the epidemics and climate change storms took their toll, and people have figured out a smaller-scale way to organize a society, at least on the Pacific coast of North America.

The Investigator in this story is a woman who is tenacious and angry, but also curious. The story has flashbacks to how she became the woman she is, and it's all generally untraumatic. I would really recommend this as a climate-change cozy mystery. The storms are the most violent part of the story (which I would not call dystopian in any way, unless the sequel changes a lot about the setting).


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