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“Robots and exowombs and hemp, oh my!”
Welcome to 2045. Automation has freed humanity from the drudgery and limitations of blue-collar labor. For twenty years, a remarkable group of female bureaucrats has overseen an ambitious construction program that is spreading equity, prosperity, and peace worldwide.
But Detective Ashley Westgard of the Jacksonville Police Corps senses that beneath all the glimmer and shine, a new malaise has taken root in society. From brazen acts of criminality and rampant party pill abuse, to her own insatiable desires... All is not well on the road to paradise.
Ash is beautiful, vain, headstrong, and erratic. A symbol of her time as she careens from impulsive shopping sprees to drunken fights to escapades of sin. But now that a methodical killer is on the loose, she must rise above apathy and doubt in order to forge her raging inner fire into a fearsome weapon of justice.
Philip Wyeth’s crazy fifth novel is imaginative, hilarious, sexy, and poignant. It will dazzle fans of Rich Larson, Neal Stephenson's “Snow Crash,” “The Tomorrow File” by Lawrence Sanders, and women who kick ass!
Note to Readers: This book contains adult language and sexual themes. (45,500 words)
“Once you get that nano crawling through you... You feel alive!”
146 pages, Kindle Edition
Published May 19, 2019
The year is 2045, and it is almost two decades since society flipped on itself. The 2020s saw the rise of the empowerment of women, and in the elapsed time, the world has become a feminist-forward stronghold with men relegated to second-class status. Detective Ashley Westgard of the Jacksonville, Florida, Police Corps is at the apex of her physical prowess, her career is flourishing and on the rise.After a night on the town with her gal pals, Ash is summoned to the scene of the annual Cheri Chat (being held this year in Jacksonville), a conference of the high-powered movers and shakers encompassing the female-led world of the day, where one of the original “Essential Planners” has been brutally murdered. As she and her partner, Detective Theodore “Ted” Gillard, one of the last men actively working in this field, gather evidence and launch an investigation, she is called to another crime scene – a nearby convenience store robbery-gone-bad where the store owner has shot and killed the would-be perpetrator. Talking with the deceased thief’s (Dayve’s) companions, two young male orphans known as “runts,” she hears that this act was completely out of character for Dayve, a shock and tragic surprise to his two friends. They believe his bizarre behavior is a direct result of his ingesting a new “tasty” he got that evening from his pill supplier.
Uncharacteristically for Ash, she immediately takes a very personal interest in one of the friends, a runt gamer named Vernon, and they end up spending a surprisingly satisfying night together. More amazing to her is the fact that she begins to have feelings about Vernon that are quite unlike those she’s experienced in her past relationships. Together, these two unlikely people team up to get to the bottom of Dayve’s actions and how it is related to the murders of some of the most prominent feminist thinkers of their time.Although categorized as a Sci-Fi tale and reminiscent of those men’s action-adventure stories from an earlier time, Hot Ash and the Oasis Defect is also a good mystery.
The main character, Ash, begins as a pretty shallow, arrogant creature out for what she wants, no matter who she uses to get it. She’s even quite insensitive and rude with her police partner, Ted, frequently poking at him over his physical limitations (he’s got an artificial leg) and haranguing him about when he’s going to retire. Sooo not a buddy partnership.Her thoughts and thought patterns are not like any woman’s I’ve ever known BUT the author is depicting an alternate future where women are the power gender (and have been, at the time of the story, for a couple of decades) so who knows for certain what this altered environment might produce in the population. I don’t think any men I’ve known, in real life, thought this way either but what do I know. I felt the author was trying to create an extreme on purpose, a vast contrast, maybe to provide for a greater change in attitude for the character to have later in the story.
There is a lot of “horn-dogging” on her part and that of her friends at the beginning of the book. There is a meaninglessness to Ash’s sexual relationships, past and present, but as the book progresses she is cognizant of her dissatisfaction and knows that something inside her is changing. She realizes she’s living recklessly, without meaning, drinking too much, doing pills, and going through sexual partners like issues. The focus of the book eventually narrows to solving the murders though and Ash experiences some surprising changes (to her) in her thoughts and behavior, especially toward the witness and male gamer, Vernon.The book is well-written making it easy and enjoyable to read. It’s a real page-turner with a future society that seemed plausible with an increase in the use of advanced AIs and things called Worker-Factory-Mechanics which have eerily embedded themselves into every aspect of life and that may pose a problem in future stories.
Although I was initially turned off by the character, Ash, I wanted to see her solve the murders and be absolutely right about her theories by the end of the book. (We really don’t find out about her theories though leaving room for sequels, I hope.) I really liked "the runts," Vernon, in particular, and her partner, Detective Gillard, and wanted a better situation to come about for all of them. Just another reason to hope there are more books in the future continuing this story.
I recommend this book for readers that like a futuristic mystery in a society that is very different from our present. There are sexual themes and scenes (male-female, female-female) throughout so this is not a book for some readers or younger ones.