The Milkman: A Freeworld Novel by Michael J. Martineck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When someone frames Emory Leveski for murder, his life goes down the toilet. McCallum, the detective assigned to the case, doesn't think Emory did it but doesn't have the budget to save him. But what does all that have to do with Sylvia Cho and her documentary about The Milkman, a rogue scientist who posts about milk quality all over the world?
This is one of those books I'm having a hard time formulating an opinion on.
First of all, I love the world The Milkman is set in. Imagine a world where the governments go into debt and are bought out by three corporations. Crimes are given an investigation budget based on the victim's earning potential for the company. Anything beyond that isn't cost effective. Everyone wears wristphones connecting them to the internet. Now that I type it, the world doesn't seem all that unfamiliar...
Ed McCallum is a cop who'd rather be an artist, investigating a crime he suspects is a setup from the start. Emory Leveski, one of the people responsible for the Milkman's reports, finds himself framed for murder. Sylvia Cho has her boss try to strong arm her into getting an abortion so she can work on the documentary. All the ingredients are pretty fresh.
So why can't I give this book a glowing review? Because I didn't think the ingredients were put together in a compelling fashion. The cases were almost completely unrelated until the end. Also, the shifting points of view were so frequent that the only character I really got attached to was McCallum, and that's likely because detective fiction is my bread and butter. Also, did I really need to know the prison rapists used a screwdriver handle coated in butter to lube up Emory's asshole before they went to town on him? No, I think not.
Still, it was a better than average read. Martineck did a good job at doing the world-building without making me feel like I was reading an encyclopedia. The murder victim seemed like an afterthought in the proceedings, though.
All things considered, I liked The Milkman more than I disliked it and I hope Michael Martineck revisits this dystopian corporate world. Three out of Five stars.
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