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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

       
Happy Policeman

Copyright 1994 by Patricia Anthony

SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Very good (3/5)

I first read this in 1997 and most recently on the 18th March 2002.

Six years ago the nuclear holocaust finally occurred. The inhabitants of Coomey, Texas, lived through it untouched. They were saved by the alien Torku who appeared, established an invisible barrier around the town and then remained to take care of the residents.

For the past six years, the Torku have seen to their needs, providing food and fuel, emergency services and garbage disposal.

No-one quite understand why the Torku saved them, or what the Torku want.

Still in the meantime life goes on much as it always did before Bomb Day.

DeWitt Dawson is the local sheriff. There's not so much for him and his deputy Bo to do. There's a small problem with graffiti and there's some illegal parking. Most of the time DeWitt just works with the Torku to keep the town running smoothly.

Now local resident Loretta Harper has been found dead - murdered - and her children are missing. As DeWitt reluctantly investigates, the unpleasant underbelly of small town life is revealed. What he finds threatens his family life, his relationship with the aliens and his life itself.

I've been a bit dubious about Patricia Anthony since reading "Brother Termite" (although I can't remember what I didn't like about that and clearly have to re-read that book), so I approached this book almost reluctantly. I was surprised to find that this book is a delight, and in fact a greater one the second time around.

Many of the characters are memorable. DeWitt as the reluctant collaborator is excellently drawn. Bo is a character with unexpected depths. Seresen, the alien leader, is suitably inscrutable and obscure.

Part detective story and part essay on the nature of reality, this novel merits careful reading.

Loaded on the 10th April 2002.
    
Cover of Happy Policeman