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The Last Exit

The Last Exit, January 2021
by Michael Kaufman

Crooked Lane Books
ISBN: 1643855670
EAN: 9781643855677
Kindle: B0871KQGZX
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Dystopian society + political conspiracy = THE LAST EXIT"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Last Exit
Michael Kaufman

Reviewed by Laura Mueller
Posted January 11, 2021

Mystery Private Eye | Mystery Police Procedural

Welcome to the 2030s, where fires are ravaging the DC area, so everyone is masked up.  Artificial intelligence is both a blessing and a curse – the police force that has synthetic implants for partners are more effective, but it has also rendered many redundant, resulting in massive levels of unemployment.  Housing affordability and the climate crisis have significantly worsened, and a new epidemic called ROSE is a certain killer of anyone in their forties or fifties without the treatment.  “Exit” offers a solution to some of these issues for the general public.  Its premise is simple, but its ethics are not: parents aged 65 may volunteer for euthanasia to ensure their children receive a modified treatment, allowing them to live into their nineties. 

While some willingly “do their duty,” other parents are not as eager to comply.  It is in this environment that rumors surface about Eden, an underground, cheaper version of the same treatment the uber-rich receive to become Timeless.  Shortly thereafter, the Elder Abuse Unit is directed by the Narcotics & Illegal Pharmaceuticals Enforcement Unit to be on the lookout for and report any information about a lethal counterfeit version of the treatment.  Michael Kaufman’s THE LAST EXIT unfolds as Detective Jen Lu works the case – does Eden even exist?  Is it the real deal, or a lethal counterfeit?  Who is behind the street treatment, and why?  Will she make it out alive to crack the case?

If you love corrupt, dystopian societies (think Handmaid’s Tale or Hunger Games), mysteries, and political conspiracies, THE LAST EXIT is the book for you.  Aptly timed and unsettlingly plausible, Kaufman’s near-future society imagines how seemingly-innocuous actions resulting from escalating political tensions today could shape our world ten years from now.  THE LAST EXIT spotlights the impacts of the power divide between the most elite upper-class and the everyman, asks us to evaluate our society’s current obsession with living forever, and highlights the simple pleasures of what it means to be human.  Kaufman packs this police procedural mystery full of action and intrigue, which is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.  The details of the case are carefully and expertly woven together, and it is best to read this novel in a weekend so you don’t forget the facts.  Chandler, Detective Jen Lu’s synthetic implant, narrates, providing well-timed comic relief and an unexpected emotional connection. 

Upon finishing reading THE LAST EXIT, you may find yourself wishing you could delve further into this dystopian society more.  If so, take heart – Kaufman’s website notes that this is the first Jen Lu mystery, so here’s to hoping he makes it a series and continues to explore what happens when today’s society veers a little bit too far off the beaten path.

Learn more about The Last Exit

SUMMARY

Perfect for fans of Tom Sweterlitsch's The Gone World. In this thrilling futuristic novel, the secret to eternal life is closely guarded by people who will do anything to protect it -- even if it means destroying everything in their path.

Set in Washington D.C. 20 years from now, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her 'partner', Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and a constant voice inside her head. He's an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.
As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to "exit" so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, a black market version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying--is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?
When Jen's investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by "the thing inside her brain." This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself. Perfect for fans of Tom Sweterlitsch's The Gone World. In this thrilling futuristic novel, the secret to eternal life is closely guarded by people who will do anything to protect it -- even if it means destroying everything in their path.

Set in Washington D.C. 20 years from now, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her 'partner', Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and a constant voice inside her head. He's an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.
As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to "exit" so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, a black market version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying--is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?
When Jen's investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by "the thing inside her brain." This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.


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