What would the world look like without men? Janet Kellough’s latest book, The Bathwater Conspiracy (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2017), explores that question in the context of a speculative fiction mystery.
Set at some indefinite point in the future, men have been eradicated as a result of a virus. There are still small stores of their genetic material, which prevents the human race from going extinct. But many crimes are things of the past, which is why Detective Carson MacHenry is so baffled by a recent murder and brutalization of the body. Though her superior tells her to leave the case alone, “Mac” can’t help but continue to investigate, and her investigation leads her from her home city to the wasteland outside and a sleepy town nearby in the course of uncovering a long-hidden secret.
The book tosses you into the investigation from page 1, slowing only briefly to bring the reader up to speed on the world once you’re already embroiled in it. The setting and characters are very compelling, and serve to make the entire book a great read. If you love mysteries and speculative fiction mashed together, you’ll likely enjoy The Bathwater Conspiracy.
It should be noted that the book does feature off-screen sexual assault and brief descriptions of the brutalized murder victim. Though the topic is handled in a respectful fashion, it may dissuade some readers from this book.
The publisher provided us with a free copy of this novel in exchange for review consideration.
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