Holt. Apr. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250175212. $27.99. F
Set in the near future, Chaon’s latest (after Ill Will) is a road trip through a vaguely postapocalyptic United States. Will Bear is a mercenary who does dirty work for a sinister and mysterious corporation. Fifty years old, with a highly complicated past and living off the grid, he travels with a rescue dog in a camper van he calls the Guiding Star. The tenuous stability of his life is upset by a call (on one of his burner phones) from a young woman named Cammie who claims to be his daughter via a sperm donation made years before. Uncertain whether she is real or AI, one person or many, he strikes up a friendship that awakens unexpected feelings, leading him to rethink his life, to the consternation of his employer. He becomes increasingly determined to find Cammie while outrunning entities who may be trying to help him or kill him—without knowing which is which.
VERDICT Despite the sordidness of his life and past, Will is a highly likable protagonist as he seeks a degree of redemption through his growing love for his possible daughter. A dark but appealing adventure of a man coming into himself after a lifetime avoiding identity.
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