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The Potrero Complex
Amy L. Bernstein. Regal House, $18.95 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-64603-250-1
Bernstein (The Nighthawkers) explores a plausible dystopic near future in this effective thriller. For almost five years in the 2020s, a pandemic devastated the globe. The disease decimated many communities, including Canary, Md. In 2030, veteran newswoman Rags Goldner arrives in Canary to assume the helm of the local paper, the Courant, improbably still a going concern despite the town’s loss of about two-thirds of its population. She finds Canary preoccupied with the recent disappearance of 16-year-old Effie Rutter. But as there’s nothing new to report, Rags stops the Courant from continuing to run warmed-over articles about the teen on page one in favor of covering a local environmental hazard. Rags finds numerous oddities in her new job, including that the Courant has stayed afloat from an odd source of revenue—“print ads in a tiny newspaper serving a dying community in a digital world.” She finds other mysteries to unpack as well after a second teen disappears and the local health authorities move to impose harsh, seemingly unnecessary restrictions on the town’s residents. Bernstein’s imagination is matched by solid pacing and characterizations. Chris Holm fans will be pleased. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 08/05/2022

Release date 08/01/2022