The Real-Town Murders

Adam Roberts
The Real-Town Murders Cover

The Real-Town Murders


This is totally a Hitchcock homage -- in a good way. As in North By Northwest, the protagonist is a decent person, just trying to live their life, when they inadvertently get dragged into something huge, with mysterious, powerful people pulling strings, and a bizarre murder mystery which is somehow connected to it all -- and while being a pawn which is pulled this way and that into misadventures by the various factions, the lead character must get back to their home every 4 hours to prevent their partner from dying.

That last bit is the part that really, really didn't work for me. In order to add the suspense of the time-frantic element to the plot, the author relies on a MacGuffin created solely for that purpose. Right up to the very end, I kept hoping that he would actually make the MacGuffin make sense in the larger world of the book -- but that didn't happen. It's just a clunky plot device to add a sense of dire urgency to the story.

The story does have some interesting subcommentary about chronic disability, government surveillance, and internet addiction, and it's worth reading if you like SFFnal mysteries