“The Forever Watch” by David Ramirez (St. Martin’s Press, 326 pages, in stores)
In “The Forever Watch,” scientist-turned-novelist David Ramirez gives us a chilling look at a future we hope will never come to be. Ramirez worked as a molecular biologist on the Human Genome Project.
In his book, Hana Dempsey is a city planner on the Noah, a massive spaceship carrying the last of the human race to a safe planet. They are halfway to their new planet and still have hundreds of years to go.
Hana is a gifted psychic, economist, hacker and government employee. She is irreplaceable but also has to serve her time at breeding duty. All women are obligated to produce a child to perpetuate the race, but she privately mourns the child she will never be permitted to see.
When police officer Leonard Barrens enlists her and her hacking skills to aid in the investigation of his mentor’s violent death, Dempsey becomes intrigued with the case and with Barrens.
According to Information Security, the officer’s mentor “retired.” But as they follow the trail of his mutilated remains, they discover a terrible pattern.
People are being erased from the system, as if they’ve never been born.
Others have had their files modified, evidence of false retirement.
It becomes evident there is a murderer aboard the Noah, and they name him “Mincemeat” for what he does to his victims. Hana designs software to search the ship’s computer for information on past murders and finds they have been occurring for hundreds of years, ever since the ship was first built.