Deadeye is a new novel, the first in THE MUTANT FILES series by William C. Dietz. After reading some of Dietz’s LEGION OF THE DAMNED books I was more than curious about what his work in a different genre would be like. Deadeye feels like a post-apocalyptic zombie novel mixed with a police investigation novel: everyone is still some version of human and the hero is a police detective.
Cassandra Lee is a detective working in a special division of the Los Angeles police department. She is the child of a cop and comes with all the trappings of a typical heroine. Basically, she’s deadly, ultra-intelligent and very, very good at what she does. She is honestly nothing new, but Dietz writes her well enough that reading about her feels comfortable, not boring.
Lee is tied up with a number of cases including investigating the murder of her father. Her naturally abrasive, tough-guy attitude has been earned through many hard life lessons and the death of more than one police partner. So, when she is assigned to a very high profile case that involves the daughter of a very famous, very wealthy anti-mutant evangelist, things start to get tense.
Dietz has done a solid job of creating a world that is a logical extension of our world after a massive biological terrorist attack that has left millions dead and many others mutated in ways that are not only horrifying to see, but also have talents that go far beyond what some of us have. It’s a solid backdrop that carries plenty of discrimination and a whole dose of concern because the virus that causes the mutations remains live and some, not all, mutants are contagious.
Dietz weaves a number of different plot threads together while telling Deadeye’s story. Cassandra stays the focal point most of the time, but there are a lot of bad, bad guys, not sexy bad boys, who end up getting mixed up in her quest to save the stolen young woman. The cultural implications that the mutation would impose on people are particularly well done. Family loves family, even when there are gross deformities that mar the appearance of sibling and children. Throw in some political maneuvering between some of the nations that have arisen post-plague and things get positively busy.
I enjoyed Deadeye for what it was. Dietz took some standard plotlines and wove them together without making things overly complicated or relying so heavily on annoying clichéd events. There was romance and there was ugliness directed towards innocents, but it made sense and didn’t overwhelm the story. That made it a book work reading, especially if you are into the police investigative or post-apocalyptic genres.
Sounds a little bit like the Wild Cards stories… but it’s my kind of thing.