I swear, one of these days Brandon Sanderson will write something that I dislike—something that is boring or trite or that just plain doesn’t work—but that day is not this day. This day that son of a gun has written yet another clever, entertaining story for me to four or five star. And this time he takes on detective stories!
With a fantasy twist, of course.
In the near future, some sort of supernatural event has reshaped the world, and made it possible to recreate exact, life-size replicas of entire days. It’s left vague why this ‘technology’ was actually created, but humans have re-purposed it . . . to fight crime. (You can see how this has already been optioned as a movie.) Detectives can enter a Snapshot and investigate crimes in a way they never could have previously, digging up clues, interviewing witnesses, tracking suspects, even watching the crime as it’s committed (though this isn’t as reliable as one would think). Our main character is Davis, a cop who has been relegated to Snapshot duty with his feckless partner, Chaz. But while on a routine Snapshot investigation, they stumble upon a serial killer that the police department seems to have gone out of their way to hide from them and decide to try and milk this Snapshot thing for all it’s worth.
This felt like a bit of a departure from Sanderson’s usual thing. It was grittier and a bit bleaker than anything I’ve read from him before. And it felt like he cared way, way less about creating his usual “likable” protagonists. It was more about creating an atmosphere, and a trippy, reality-bending mystery.
Recommended if you like any of the following: Detective fiction, mysteries, sci-fi thrillers, procedurals, or stuff that is cool.