The Shamshine Blind

Atria. Feb. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781982185329. $28. SF
DEBUT In this alternate-history noir mystery, the United States is no longer a dominant world power after Argentina won the Falklands War in 1982 by weaponizing emotion with chemicals. Detective Kay Curtida is near retirement and stuck in a dead-end town in an equally dead-end job, chasing down a case that might just vault her into the big time—or might get her killed. Curtida and her crew think they’re investigating a new distributor selling bad batches of counterfeit psychotropic drugs, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
VERDICT This science-fictional noir will appeal to readers who have fallen hard for the upswing in blended SF/mysteries such as John Scalzi’s “Lock In” and “Dispatcher” series. The blend brings a new twist to both parts of its equation, with the mystery and all its delicious red herrings set in a world not quite like the present. Curtida fits right into the mold of the noir detective while giving Sam Spade and company an entirely different perspective as a neuro-atypical Latinx protagonist. Highly recommended.
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