ebook, 340 pages
Portland, Oregon, was once a beacon of promise and prosperity. Now it’s the epicenter of a world gone wrong, its streets overrun by victims and hustlers, drifters and gangsters. Lowly contract cop Lane Anslow struggles to keep afloat—and to watch out for his brilliant but bipolar brother, Johnny, a medical researcher. Lane soon discovers that Johnny is part of an experiment veiled in extraordinary secrecy. But he has no idea who’s behind it, how astronomical the stakes are, or how many lives might be destroyed to make it a reality.
Now Johnny’s gone missing. To find him, Lane follows a twisting trail into a billionaire’s hilltop urban fortress, a politician’s inner circle, a prison set in an aircraft graveyard, and a highly guarded community where people appear to be half their biological age. Hunted by dueling enemies, Lane meets a beautiful and enigmatic woman at the center of a vast web of political and criminal intrigue. And behind it all is a sinister, desperate race to claim the biggest scientific prize of all: eternal life.
The Forever Man by Pierre Ouellette is a very highly recommended dystopian science fiction crime novel.
Set in the near future in Portland, Oregon, society has eroded into the haves and have-nots. Corruption, amoral behavior and greed have taken over. The land has broken down to sections ruled by various crime lords and the government/law enforcement is likely just as corrupt as the rogue leaders. If you have the money, you will be living in privately guarded enclaves and constantly seeking a way to extend your life through various medical procedures. If you don't have money you will be scrambling hard to find some way to get by, avoid confrontations with local bad-boy enforcers, and likely with some self-medication to try to make it all tolerable.
Lane Anslow is a contract cop in his 40's who is at the low end of the pay scale and on the verge of being considered too old for the job. Lane's brother, Johnny, is a brilliant medical researcher who has just made the break-through discovery to reverse aging that everyone seeks - but especially Thomas Zed, a man wealthy beyond imagination who wants nothing more than to live forever. Now Johnny has disappeared and it is up to Lane to save him, again. Lane must untangle what Johnny has discovered and who would be trying to kill both of them.
The Forever Man worked as a noir crime fiction novel for me, one that just happened to be set in the future. The sci-fi elements are there and believable, but it's the search and digging up information in a bleak world that really propelled the novel along and compelled me to read faster. The sci-fi elements of the world are just a given, they are just background and there as Lane tries to stay alive and figure out what has happened to Johnny and why. Lane is a great character, he has his standards, but he also knows that he may have to revise them in order to survive. His search takes him through all levels of society.
The back story of characters is developed through flashbacks, a technique that works for this novel, and I thought the character development was good. Ouellette raises some interesting questions about seeking to live forever - or beyond the Gompertz Curve - and what questions might arise with living an extremely long life. This is done embedded in the story rather than in a pushy, glaringly obvious lecturing way, something I appreciate.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Random House for TLC review purposes.