Jay Phillippi's Reviews > Dover Beach

Dover Beach by Richard Bowker
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A "limited" nuclear war has reduced the United States to a post-apocalyptic backwater nation. Society is still sorting itself out with both good and bad affect. In the midst of this Wally Sands is trying to be a private investigator. At the moment it doesn't seem like the world needs one. Until a wealthy scientist walks through his door looking for help in tracking down a mysterious father. The scientist believes that he is the result of sophisticated experiments before the war and is looking for answers. Sands accepts the case (his first) and ends up in England trying to figure out what really happened all those years ago. What he finds are more questions and some surprising answers.

When I started this book I wasn't much impressed. There's a very serious attempt at creating a hard-boiled detective vibe for the book that just felt artificial at first. Once that ground work is established Bowker catches his stride much better and the story settled down for me. It's an interesting blend of science fiction and detective story that manages the balance pretty well overall. There are some secondary characters that get short shrift here, which struck me as unfortunate.

The e-book version that I read is a 2012 edition but the original novel is from 1987 (when it received a nomination for the Philip K. Dick award). It's interesting that "Dover Beach" seems to have just sat there for all these years but now there is a second volume promised.

The novel just seems incomplete somehow. The part that's here is pretty good but not good enough to make me go out of my way looking for volume #2 (which doesn't appear to exist yet, almost two years later).

If you enjoy science fiction there is some stuff to like here. If you like detective fiction there is something to like here. In the end I wanted to a little more to like.

For more reviews and independent media commentary check out my blog The View From the Phlipside
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
May 17, 2014 – Shelved

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