Format Read: ebook provided by the author
Number of Pages: 218 pages
Release Date: October 21, 2011
Publisher: Echelon Press
Series: Douglas Abledan #2
Formats Available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK) | Author’s Website | Goodreads | Publisher’s Website
The year is 2021. Natural forces have changed our world. As the Earth’s magnetic poles have shifted, pressure on the planet’s mantle layer is building. The bottom line…earthquakes now wreak havoc in areas they have never occurred before.
In Mexico, members of an archaeological team investigate the remains of an ancient village uncovered by a quake; racing to prove their theories about the civilization that once lived there. But, disaster strikes when the accidental destruction of an artifact unleashes a worldwide agricultural plague.
Halfway across the continent, Douglas Abledan, a blind computer technologist, embarks on a long-anticipated vacation. On the plane to Chicago, he meets world-renowned agricultural pathologist Cara Cordelia, but their chance meeting could cost them both their lives.
As the follow up to Blind Traveler Down a Dark River (reviewed at Reading Reality), Blind Traveler’s Blues was much more about the murder, and much less about the technology that makes blind amateur sleuth Douglas Abledan able to function pretty much independently in this near-future version of the U.S.
Not that the tech isn’t pretty neat. The concept of GPS devices morphing into driverless cars and personal navigation devices for the blind is marvelous. But sometimes it’s better for the sake of the narrative with science fiction to let the reader accept the gee-whiz devices as part of everyday life.
It works in Blind Traveler’s Blues where Abledan’s navigator doesn’t get as much explanation, but the circumstances of life in 2021 get a LOT more explanation. The earth’s magnetic poles have shifted, and massive earthquakes all over the planet are causing constant disruptions. And constant destruction.
With all that planetary and ecological change going on, there are a lot of people who believe that Mother Earth is unhappy with her children, meaning us humans. So there are eco-terrorists doing terrorist things.
So when an unfortunate chain of events sets off an agricultural plague, some of those eco-terrorists think that the plague is Gaia fighting back. And they’ll help her any way they can. Oh, say, by murdering some scientists who might otherwise find a cure for the plague.
And Douglas Abledan gets accidentally involved in a murder investigation. Again. This time because the woman he meets on his airplane trip to Chicago (the poor man is just trying to take a vacation!) is one of those scientists that might find a cure for the agricultural plague.
Verdict: This story works surprisingly well. Amateur sleuths have gotten themselves involved in police investigations for shakier reasons than great chemistry with a woman on a plane and wanting to get to know her better. Lots sketchier.
Abledan is a more sympathetic character in his second outing, because we’re seeing him feel something in addition to his sense that the police can’t do anything right. He genuinely liked Cara. And he meets at least one Chicago cop who makes him start to re-evaluate his blanket condemnation of the police.
The combination of the terrorists trying to prevent the plague from being cured and the academics who each wanted to find a cure so they could get recognition not only worked, it was all too familiar. Well, the terrorism as fiction and the academia as non-fiction.
I give Blind Traveler’s Blues 3.5 stars. (with thanks for the trip to future Chicago)