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THE SHAMSHINE BLIND
"This science-fictional noir will appeal to readers who have fallen hard for the upswing in blended SF/mysteries such as John Scalzi’s “Lock In” and “Dispatcher” series. The blend brings a new twist to both parts of its equation, with the mystery and all its delicious red herrings set in a world not quite like the present. Curtida fits right into the mold of the noir detective while giving Sam Spade and company an entirely different perspective as a neuro-atypical Latinx protagonist. Highly recommended."
—Library Journal (starred review)
“The Shamshine Blind is a deadpan hilarious allegory for our times, in the classic style of Philip K. Dick and the other great social satirists of science fiction— full of heart and sharp as a razor.”
—Kim Stanley Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Ministry for the Future
“In this fiercely intelligent and utterly original debut, Paz Pardo creates an alternate
reality that speaks with eerie accuracy to our contemporary anxieties and conflicts. A
page-turning mystery, a moving love story, and a technological thriller in one.”
—Anna North, New York Times bestselling author of Outlawed
“Dark, witty, and wonderfully speculative, The Shamshine Blind reimagines the United
States as a scarily familiar shadow of itself, a place where nothing can be trusted—not
even your own feelings. A rip-roaring, beautifully crafted mash up of cop noir, sci-fi, and alt-history that left me dazzled by its prescience and literary zing.”
—Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
“Combining an alternate-history police procedural of the highest stakes with an examination of the authenticity of feelings in a world where emotions can literally be manufactured, The Shamshine Blind is inventive, suspenseful, and heartfelt.”
—Jane Pek, author of The Verifiers
A beguiling blend of noir detective story and science fiction perfect for fans of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel, this unputdownable debut imagines a world where emotions have been weaponized, and a small-town law enforcement agent uncovers a conspiracy to take down what’s left of American democracy.
In an alternate 2009, the United States has been a second-rate power for a quarter of a century, ever since Argentina’s victory in the Falkland’s War thanks to their development of “psychopigments.” Created as weapons, these colorful chemicals can produce almost any human emotion upon contact, and they have been embraced in the US as both pharmaceutical cure-alls and popular recreational drugs. Black market traders illegally sell everything from Blackberry Purple (which causes terror) to Sunshine Yellow (which delivers happiness).
Psychopigment Enforcement Agent Kay Curtida works a beat in Daly City, just outside the ruins of San Francisco, chasing down smalltime crooks. But when an old friend shows up with a tantalizing lead on a career-making case, Curtida’s humdrum existence suddenly gets a boost. Little does she know that this case will send her down a tangled path of conspiracy and lead to an overdue reckoning with her family and with the truth of her own emotions.
Told in the voice of a funny, brooding, Latinx Sam Spade, The Shamshine Blind is “a rip-roaring beautifully crafted mash-up of cop noir, sci-fi, and alt-history that left me dazzled by its prescience and literary zing” (Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface).
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