Friday, March 31, 2023

Blind Spots

Blind Spots by Thomas Mullen
4/4/23; 320 pages
Minotaur Books

Blind Spots by Thomas Mullen is a highly recommended crime novel set in a dystopian world where everyone is blind but can see through a device.

Seven years ago everyone in the world eventually went blind when the Blinding occurred. Technology came to the rescue creating a device called a vidder, a metal disc implant in the temple that approximates vision for people by downloading visual data directly to people’s brains. Mark Owens is a homicide detective who has been on the force before the Blinding. When a scientist is murdered and the perpetrator was invisible to the witness, detectives are dubious that the witness is telling the truth, until Owens actually "sees" the black blob when he witnesses another murder.

Clearly someone has hacked the vidder and can manipulate what people see. Owen must conduct an investigation in which he can’t even trust his own "eyes." How do you investigate when your perceptions of reality can be manipulated and you can't trust what you think you can see?

Blind Spots is a compelling science fiction/dystopian crime novel that features a detective searching for truth in a world of surveillance and disinformation. Mullen provides plenty of details to develop the world he has created and the addition of the crime that must be solved adds another element that helps hold your attention. The crime is complex, as is the backstory and all the details. The plot moves at a steady pace and is interesting throughout. This mix of a procedural with a dystopian will be appreciated by a wide variety of readers.

Owens is a fully realized, complex character and has a backstory that makes him very sympathetic and interesting. The story unfold through his point-of-view as well as that of other characters. Owens is a thoughtful, careful, and intelligent character who you will trust to solve the case/puzzle of the blurry figures.

There are some slower parts of the plot, but that shouldn't deter you from reading this excellent novel. The combination of a police procedural  with a cautionary tale about technology and government control rings true. 

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Minotaur Books via NetGalley.

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