Green Valley is a book that will appeal to fans of detective stories, and to those who enjoy the chilling tales of Black Mirror, as it takes readers into a dark and depressing near-future in the hunt for a child murderer.
Set in a world where technology has moved backwards thanks to public outcry, with police surveillance and computer espionage a thing of the past, special police investigator Lucie Sterling is assigned to a series of cases where children are being discovered dead; children whose bodies are filled with advanced virtual reality enhancements. This leads Lucie to the one place that they could be coming from, Green Valley.
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A private town hidden inside a corporate bunker, Green Valley is a place where a few thousand people closed themselves off after the push back against technology, where they can live in their own virtual world away from everyone else. But with the dead children only possibly coming from there, and Lucie’s niece Kira being a resident, Green Valley becomes the focus of her investigation.
The world of Green Valley is one of the more interesting aspects of the book, and is unfortunately not explored quite enough. Over the course of the novel we discover a little about the technology ban, how society changed because of it, and how new methods of communication had to be introduced. We also hear some of the stories about how Green Valley split itself off from the rest of the world, and how this divided both public opinion and families. But through all of this it only feels like we’ve been given surface level details, the pieces that we need to know for the story to work.
We discover a little about the people who fought against the progress of technology because Lucie is married to one of them. We learn that there are still some secret surveillance systems in place because it’s used in the investigation. And we learn about the Green Valley separation because it comes up in Lucie’s quest for answers. All of this is useful information, and interesting, but it would be great to see more of the world, to see how people lived their lives, how technology and society had altered, and if these changes were a good thing.
This information seems to be a secondary concern for Louis Greenberg, who instead wants to tell a much more personal story, as Lucie must walk a fine line between the law and saving her last living relative. Thankfully, this personal story is very engaging, and keeps you hooked throughout.
Lucie’s journey through Green Valley isn’t just a story about a police officer trying to solve a crime, or a woman trying to save her family: it pushes her to her psychological limits. There are times where you question what Lucie is experiencing, left wondering what her reality really is. Is something really happening to her, or is she being manipulated thanks to some incredibly frightening technology?
Green Valley is a journey through the horror of technology; one that takes both Lucie and the reader to some incredibly dark places, and will produce images that will chill you and stay with after the book is done. An interesting mystery that might not completely satisfy techy people who want to know more about the world, but will draw you in for the deep, personal journey.
Green Valley is out now from Titan Books.