From acclaimed author Alexander C. Irvine comes a gritty near-future thriller in the paranoid, prophetic vein of Philip K. Dick and Richard K. Morgan.
One hundred years from now, with Americans hooked into an Internet far more expansive and intrusive than today’s, the world has become a seamless market-driven experience. In this culture of capitalism run amok, entrepreneurs and politicians faced with rampant overcrowding in the nation’s penal system turn to a controversial new method of cutting costs: life-term buyouts. In theory, buyouts offer convicted murderers the chance to atone for their crimes by voluntarily allowing themselves to be put to death by the state in exchange for a one-time cash payment, shared among their heirs and victims, based on a percentage of what it would have cost taxpayers to house and feed them for the rest of their natural lives. It’s a win-win situation.
At least that’s what Martin Kindred believes. And Martin is a man who desperately needs something to believe in, especially with his marriage coming apart and the murder of his brother, an L.A. cop brutally gunned down in the line of duty, unsolved.
As the public face of the buyout program, Martin is a lightning rod for verbal and physical abuse–but he embraces every challenge, knowing his motives are pure. But when evidence comes to light that a felon in line for a buyout may have been involved with his brother’s death, Martin’s professional detachment threatens to turn into a personal vendetta that will jeopardize everything–and everyone–he holds dear. Inspired by today’s politics, Buyout is an unforgettable look at an all-too-believable future . . . and one man’s struggle to do the right thing.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Buyout|
|Release Date: 03-31-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Rumors had been flying for days behind the energy-neutral windows of Antelope Valley Casualty. The company was being sold. A huge restructuring, with accompanying layoff massacre, was on the horizon. A big change in the regulations was about to be announced that would drive them out of business. Martin Kindred listened to them all on his way to the coffee machine, and listened to them all again on his way back. Then he kept working. Anything that happened up on the ninth floor might as well be the weather, was the way he looked at it. He had policies to revise and the first quarterly report of the year coming due
in a week. AVC had had a tough go of 2039, and he was feeling a little pressure—make that a lot—to make Q1 of 2040 cheerful. The fourth-floor financial daemon was gloomy, and Martin pushed figures around his desktop, experimenting with different configurations to see which would go over the best on the ninth floor.
He was pinged, at ten fifty-seven, by Santos Queiroz, an AVC lifer who, by quiet obsequiousness and careful displacement of his mistakes onto subordinates, had gradually moved up to the ninth floor. Martin answered the ping with some reluctance, since Santos was more nervous about the Q1 report than he was, but answer it he did, doing his best to look professionally optimistic as Santos’ face wiped out the unsatisfactory arrangement of figures on the desktop.
“Martin, hi, how are you,” Santos said. “Listen, can you come upstairs?” By which Martin assumed Santos meant Santos’ office, so he said, “Sure.” When he got up to the ninth floor, he found Santos’ office empty. Wa