Deadeye by William C Dietz

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Deadeye by William C Dietz

Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: A gritty slice of urban fantasy that is set in a well realised world, but at times has an incoherent story.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 272 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781783298747

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In the world of urban fantasy it seems easy to come up with a great concept and then find yourself with no story to fill it. How about this for an idea? The future America is almost destroyed when a virus wipes out half the population, of those that survive half have remained human, the other half have become mutants. Someone needs to police this new status quo, so detectives are still on the beat, catching killers and kidnappers. Sounds like a great idea, just don’t forget the story.

Detective Cassandra Lee is the cop in question, she is tasked with finding the kidnapped daughter of a rich religious leader. The case seems to point towards the mutant held Texas Badlands, so Lee must partner with a mutant officer to go south and uncover the truth about a case that is only the weeping scab over a far worse and rancid wound.

Deadeye is the type of genre fiction that has you tearing your hair out, not because the book is just bad, but because it could have been so much better. The world building of William C Dietz is excellent. A crime drama set in a dystopian mutated future should work; the concept of a human based Northern America and a mutant south is intriguing and opens up a treasure trove of possibilities. To be fair to Dietz, he does follow a lot of the possibilities as the reader is taken from human LA to mutant Texas. The two places have a distinct feel from one another, but it was also good to see that cops are cops, no matter where there are, or what they look like.

The issues with the book are not found in the world building or even the story, which is standard cop fair, but a multitude of strange writing decisions by the author that pull the reader out of the book. One example is a joke made by Lee offhandly about the death of someone’s mother who died a few days earlier – this should have been removed in the editing process. The odd character choices don’t stop here; at one point our ‘heroes’ seemingly execute a security guard for just doing his job. This is not great from two police officers, but is made even more bizarre when they later come across a group of violent gangsters and decide to tie them up, rather than kill them. It’s ok to kill a person doing their job, but not a professional killer?

It feels perhaps that Dietz was writing the book quickly and glanced through it again without really editing the content. The oddness is apparent throughout and is not down to the fantasy elements, but poor writing. Why have an airborne virus that forces you to wear a mask for your own protection; only for you to make love to a carrier – odd, odd, odd.

If the world of The Mutant Files was not as strong a concept to begin with, all the small petty problems would have probably been drowned out in the averageness of the book, but because the world is great, the multitude of written crimes become highly noticeable. With a little more thought, editing and movement of events, Deadeye could have been a decent slice of urban fantasy, instead it is a hodgepodge of a book with a great concept just looking for a coherent story to hang off it.

Urban fantasy done well can be found in Afterparty by Daryl Gregory, whilst there is shlock horror abounding in The Remaining by D J Molles.

Buy Deadeye by William C Dietz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Deadeye by William C Dietz at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Deadeye by William C Dietz at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Deadeye by William C Dietz at Amazon.com.


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