SciFi Book Review: The Forever Watch

The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

All that is left of humanity is on a thousand-year journey to a new planet aboard one ship, The Noah, which is also carrying a dangerous serial killer…

As a City Planner on the Noah, Hana Dempsey is a gifted psychic, economist, hacker and bureaucrat and is considered “mission critical.” She is non-replaceable, important, essential, but after serving her mandatory Breeding Duty, the impregnation and birthing that all women are obligated to undergo, her life loses purpose as she privately mourns the child she will never be permitted to know.

When Policeman Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills in the unofficial investigation of his mentor’s violent death, Dempsey finds herself increasingly captivated by both the case and Barrens himself. According to Information Security, the missing man has simply “Retired,” nothing unusual. Together they follow the trail left by the mutilated remains. Their investigation takes them through lost dataspaces and deep into the uninhabited regions of the ship, where they discover that the answer may not be as simple as a serial killer after all.

Hana is a complex, relatable character. It’s not clear at first why the breeding program is set up the way it is, but it is explained later in the book. There is quite a bit of fear of the authorities, and Hana doesn’t want to show any of her grief to anyone. She has a growing relationship with a policeman, but even Leo has limited power when he investigates a trail of deaths.

The Forever Watch is a dark science fiction thriller. The setting doesn’t feel like a ship because of its immensity – the size of a city – complete with days and nights and changes in seasons. The story is inventive and unpredictable. I thought I knew what was going on at one point, but was way off. This well-paced story has plenty of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and a bit of romance – with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

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