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Depth by Lev A.C. Rosen is a noir styled mystery set in a near future after a global flooding. It could even be in the same near future described as the Big Water in Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, except this time the location is New York — or rather what's left of it.
A flooded New York isn't a new idea, certainly. And anyone familiar with the city knows it will flood when the sea levels rise. Rosen's taken on a post flood New York is rather upbeat compared to the dystopian gang-run, illness rampant New York of The Ward by Jordana Frankel. That's not to say it's a utopia in the modern sense but New York has taken its isolation from the mainland in stride and rebranded itself as a safe-haven from the hyper conservative, xenophobic, homophobic, and misogynistic regime that is the remains of the mainland United States.
But that's just the setting. There is an actual cut and dry (despite the flooding) mystery here. Simone is a private detective who has been hired to tail a man suspected of having an affair. When that apparently simple task takes a strange turn, Simone finds herself juggling more work than she wants: a missing persons case, a murder, missing artwork, and the search for a mythical underwater tunnel to the mainland.
As Simon tracks down leads and keeps herself out of danger, we are given clues to the history of the flooding and the dystopian regime that rose up from the remains of the nation. Both the mystery and the near future time line are well thought out and tightly woven. Everything comes together in a rewarding and heart stopping conclusion.
While this book is a standalone, I would love to revisit this flooded New York. Simon is an interesting detective living in a plausible and fascinating version of the Big Apple. I want to follow along as she solves other mysteries.
While I read this book for the mystery, it does qualify for the road narrative project. New York as the starting point for many of the traditional (eight percent) road narratives it has featured prominently in the American road narrative tradition.
In this case, New York isn't the destination. As this is a near future version, uhoria is the destination. The main character is a private investigator and disgraced cop. For this reason I'm counting her as marginalized.
Before I go into the method of travel, let me warn you that this will be a spoiler.
In a city covered entirely by water, it might seem odd to be thinking about roads. Or it might be tempting to think of the road as "off road." But New York when it's not the start (or finish) for a road trip, is known for its subway system. The subway here — or rather a very special station — is the treasure of this mystery.
With a marginalized protagonist in a uhoria searching for railroad (or subway station), we have a 66CC00. It's fitting spot on the spectrum given that this mystery is primarily a 1930s noir but set in a near future science fiction New York.