Thriller writer Dan Vining (Among the Living) deftly combines mystery and dystopia in NightSun. Set in 2025 Los Angeles, this world features a severe drought, cheap energy and traffic so bad that emergency personnel have taken to the sky.

L.A. cop Nate Cole flies across the city every night in his lightweight personal helicopter, accompanied by a young gunner and a virtual assistant. The official explanation for a recent spate of senseless murders is gang violence, but Nate begins to suspect there might be more to it, including drug sales, human trafficking and maybe even a bad cop or two.

Although he lives a relatively isolated existence, he sometimes crosses paths with Ava, a private investigator who is just as much of a loner. The two occasionally help each other with cases. Ava is trying to untangle what started as a simple case: a heartbroken man looking for his missing lover. In this new L.A., though, nothing is as it seems, and Ava's investigation takes her to Vivid, a pop star with a cult-like following.

This is not your typical detective novel. Vining uses Nate and Ava and the cases they are investigating to delve into the details of life in this strange near future, with its loneliness and isolation. As in life, there are no neat answers here, but the combination of intriguing mysteries and the near-future world make NightSun a gripping read. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book By Book blog

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