Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Tor Books (March 13, 2018)
Author Information: Website
Length: 288 pages
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Dayfall takes place in the near future after a nuclear event has plunged much of the northeastern United States into a perpetual nuclear winter. Naturally, eternal night has changed nearly every aspect of life in the huge metropolis of New York City, resulting in a nightlife which never ends and a crime rate that never stops rising.
Enter small town cop Jon Phillips. This idealistic guy has always dreamed of being a big city detective, hunting down criminals, and generally being a hero. Finally, he gets his chance when Mayor Rialle King of New York reaches out to him helping to hunt down about a serial killer who is stalking the shrouded streets of the Big Apple.
Soon, Phillips is paired up with an experienced and (supposedly) uncorrupted veteran cop named Frank Halliday. The two attempting to navigate the political environment (A mayoral election is ongoing, and a millionaire is gunning for King’s job.), rise above the law enforcement corruption, navigate the criminal underbelly, sidestep the fearmongering groups worried about the coming of “Dayfall”, and somehow, someway, catch the worse serial killer ever to haunt the streets of New York before everything comes crashing down.
After writing the above summary I have to admit Dayfall sounds like a damn good novel. A story concept which appears to be tailor made for speculative fiction, because what reader can resist a murder mystery set in a post-apocalyptic real world. At least, I couldn’t resist it. Unfortunately, the finished product left a bit to be desired.
First, this is the author’s debut novel, and it does show. The writing just a bit off at times, a bit clunky, a little too minimalistic. The characters were too one dimensional. The dialogue a bit flat. The plot twists a little too easy to guess. And while Michael David Ares definitely has talent, amazing ideas, and shows flashes of greatness, he isn’t quite there yet.
Second, the world building isn’t to the level necessary for this kind of speculative fiction tale. Yes, the murder mystery, serial killer plot is the focus of the book, but I for one looked forward to seeing the world. The idea of a darkness shrouded New York with soaring crime and perpetual nightlife intrigued me. I imagined a lot of real differences between the city I’ve visited a few times and a post-nuclear event Big Apple. Regrettably, the author doesn’t spend much time developing the environment. Certainly, there are a few moments here and there, which are truly great, but there are not enough of these moments, not enough differences between real life NYC and Dayfall NYC to really capture my imagination.
To sum up, this is an okay novel. It is a quick read, has a good bit of action and intrigue, a lot of mystery, and is very easy to follow and enjoy. If you are a fan of murder mystery told in future settings, Dayfall will probably be right up your alley, as long as you don’t expect too much from it or anticipate anything other than a light, entertaining read.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.