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Dayfall
by Michael David Ares
Tor, $25.99, 286 pages
Published: March 2018

Instead of Asimov’s distant civilization that has never in living memory experienced nightfall, darkness, or stars, Ares starts with a post-nuclear winter Earth where certain densely populated regions are in a perpetual gloom alleviated by street lamps and UV lighting. Residents have become accustomed to the perennial dark, but the currents of shifting wind patterns are gradually dissipating the shroud of dense cloud cover over cities like Manhattan.

It’s happened elsewhere. The Mayor of New York knows what to expect. Chaos. Violence. Hysteria. Madness. Terror. She has started public education and preparation projects to ease the transition, and New York stands a good chance of coming through more or less intact. But a serial killer has decided not to wait for the cover of blinding dayfall to play his ugly games; worse, there is a power struggle going on between the forces of law and the forces of organized crime — one the Mayor is not winning. So when up-and-coming Detective Jon Phillips puts paid to Philadelphia’s Full Moon serial killer, the Police Commissioner sends him to NYC, because his friend Mayor Rialle King has asked for someone “incorruptible.” 

Jon Phillips comes to the Big Apple with no preconceptions, no connections, no vested interests. Unfortunately for the Mayor, his fresh view of the situation leads him to suspect her of criminal involvement, too. It’s real hard to know who to trust when the police seem to be lying, while the kingpin of organized crime has the downlow on everybody and shares startling information. But before he can decide who to cast his vote for in the coming election he has to stop the Dayfall Killer, and he’s going to have to trust someone, because he can’t do the job alone.

This edgy, timely tribute to Asimov’s classic story is SF with a hardboiled edge and a noirish cast. Ares clearly loves his source material, both literary and human. He has spun a deft tale of fast action, sharp turns, and characters who risk their lives to be guardians of the city they love. – Chris Wozney

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