- Title: Pacific State
- Author: Grant Price
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Dystopian, Cyberpunk, Technothriller, Sci-Fi
- Would I recommend: Heck, yes. This is one of those books I had a hard time putting down. Go get it. Right now.
On the streets of Berlin all morals can be bought for a price, and Owen Resler sold his long ago. Once an underground dissenter, now a corporate drone, he spends his days reluctantly manipulating data for Big Pharma.
Across town, notorious gun-for-hire Mia Warsaw is putting together a team to assassinate one of the city’s more unscrupulous business moguls and she needs someone to handle the ones and zeroes.
When Warsaw crosses paths with an increasingly desperate Resler, she hands the former radical an ultimatum: he can either succumb to death by a thousand bureaucratic paper cuts or take a chance with her.
Of course, there’s no guarantee he’ll survive that, either…
If you’ve been hanging around a while, you know I thought very highly of the first in Grant Price’s Sundown cycle, Reality Testing. I’m glad to say the second in the cycle, Pacific State, lives up to the bar set by the first! And it’s out today, so you can get your hands on it now!
Corporate espionage. The haves and the have-nots. A mercenary with a softer side. This book packs a lot of action in, and it is all magnificent.
Mia Warsaw finds herself in pretty steep debt to her fixer/cleaner, and to clear the books, she agrees to do one more hit. A big one. Her target: Luc Benz, son of a major corporate bigwig who likes using young girls as his own personal experiments. If ever someone just needed killing, Benz is it. Mia has a personal reason for wanting Benz out of commission, too: Janeane, the girl she rescued from a life of prostitution, is Benz’s target demographic.
Owen Resler thinks he’s on his way to making it. Finally. He works for Scopo, scraping data and trying to increase the company’s bottom line in order to improve his own. But when his work puts the company in an unexpected position, it leads to an offer he can’t really say “no” to. But he does, and then he’s really in a bind.
Grant Price gives us more of the world he so masterfully created in Reality Testing. The focus here is on Berlin, with the stark contrasts between the lives of the wealthy and the lives of those scrabbling to survive, with language like this that you can almost smell: “Garbage, unrecycled and untouched, lay piled at kerbsides and made the air taste of malicious decay.” Doesn’t that make you feel like you want to go rinse your mouth out with Listerine? Like the taste of that decaying stench lingered in your mouth just from reading about it.
Jargon also plays a pretty big role in the story, but this time we get a lot of the “whicolla,” or the language the corporate types (“corpos”) use. For anyone who’s ever worked in a business setting, the mashup of acronyms and buzzwords that serves as the corpos’ shorthand language can either be almost laughable (because haven’t we all thought that corporate-speak sounds pretty ridiculous at times?) or grating on the nerves. But it didn’t take a glossary to understand, and it was pretty easy to sink into the world and get what the characters were talking about.
Characters are again well-crafted, with each essential to the story, even if their on-page time was somewhat short. Action scenes are intense and descriptive, and had me flinching at some close calls. There are also some pretty intense descriptions of medical and augmentation procedures that may not be for the squeamish, but they’re integral to the story, not just thrown in for shock value.
Pacific State is a quick-reading, compelling story. If you’re a fan of Cowboy Bebop, cyberpunk, sci-fi, and dystopian tales, you need to read this book (and the first one, too).
Disclaimer: Thanks to the author and Black Rose Press for an advance copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.