Killer in the Retroscape: A Near-Future Mystery
by Bruce M. Perrin
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Technothriller
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In 2068 St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Douglas (Doug) Michaels finds his lifelong friend, Josh Unger, dead in his home. When law enforcement concludes his death was a suicide, Doug and his wife, Ali, are dumbstruck; they wonder what could explain such a needlessly violent and lonely death in a future where such actions are unimaginable. Trying to unearth a killer, be it either flesh and blood or the cumulative stress of life, Doug creates a mental landscape of Josh’s past, a retroscape, starting in the mid-2030s.
Among its landmarks are:
•An illness, sensationalized in the media as the “zombie pandemic” that drives a wedge between husband and wife, parents and children.
•Cryptic communications between Josh and an “after-life specialist” who peddles immortality services.
•A mysterious phrase uttered at the assassination of a government official that ties it to Josh’s death 14 years later.
•Josh’s machine-intelligence wife, Julia, who may hold the secret to his death…if she can only remember.
In the end, determining guilt in a retroscape littered with suspects tells Doug more about humanity, technology, and himself than he ever would have imagined.