The Last Exit
A Jen Lu Mystery #1
Crooked Lane Books, January 2021
Set in the future, Jen Lu is a Washington D.C. detective with a synth implant named Chandler residing in her neocortex. She is able to turn Chandler off at will, but is not supposed to when on duty. With a population grown out of control and limited resources and space for everyone, people over sixty-five are required to exit (die) so their children may live—as long as they can pay for an expensive longevity treatment.
One evening, Jen and Chandler are called to a stand-off between parents and child because the parents refuse to “exit” at their son’s demand. A shoot-out occurs, with the mother’s last words something about going to Eden.
Jen’s investigation turns up a cheaper source for the treatment and the term “Eden” is mentioned, but reports are coming in of many people dying. When her supervisor calls her off the case, suspicions grow of something hinky going on, which involves people in government, law enforcement, and of course, highest society.
Determined to get to the bottom of it, especially after Chandler is turned off and Jen fired, Jen’s own life and hope for longevity is put in jeopardy as she follows a money trail. Only the presence of her former cop partner, her boyfriend, and Chandler’s power, can help put things right.
Excellent world-building, entirely plausible—and more than a bit scary. Fine writing and interesting characters make Mr. Kaufman most definitely a writer to watch.
Reviewed by Carol Crigger, August 2021.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery