July 24, 2014 by mmileti
Release Date: July 29, 2014
The Buried Life, the debut novel of author Carrie Patel, is the first book in a new series from one of my favorite publishers, Angry Robot Books. It is a mystery novel set in a dystopian future with a bit of a steampunk vibe thrown into its setting. Unlike many dystopian novels, the dystopian element of the story remains in the background, and the murder mystery is the main aspect that drives the plot. Though I am not usually a huge fan of mystery novels, I found that Patel did a wonderful job of engaging my attention while throwing in just enough of a unique view of the future to keep me wanting to read more.
The story takes places in the underground city of Recoletta, an extensive network of tunnels lit by both skylight and gaslight. When one of the city’s most prestigious members gets murdered, it is up to inspector Liesl Malone to infiltrate the lives of Recoletta’s elite in order to solve the case. Malone and her rookie partner, who has just switched from a career in acting, soon find that the murder is connected to a mysterious project funded by Ricoletta’s top historical research facility. Since the study of antebellum history is outlawed to the public, they must tread very carefully if they wish to catch the murderer.
I found that this story proceeded at a relatively fast pace, which was sufficient to keep the reader engaged. The characters were not incredibly complex, but they did not have to be in able to further the story. My favorite part of the book was the mystery, as Patel sets the reader up with plenty of implications surrounding the cause of the murders. The dystopian aspect of the novel was important to the novel’s mystery, but it did not override the plot in any way. The setting stays a part of the background, and though it is a fascinating future that Patel crafts for the reader, the descriptions of the underground city are only given when they help to further the plot. I also enjoyed the ending of the book, and even though the secret Patel reveals is not monumental, I found it fascinating enough to want to read more books in the Buried Life series.
Overall, I thought that this was an enjoyable read even though it was not one of the best books I have read this year. On the other hand, it is one of the best mystery novels I have ever read. I would recommend this novel to both fans of mystery and fans of dystopian novels.
I would rate this novel a 7/10.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.