The Protocol (Eat Teague #1)
My rating: Near-Future Thriller
by John P. Goetz
The Protocol is set in a plausible, very-near future, in which US healthcare reform has been hijacked by a faction who want to use the state system to eliminate those who represent an "unreasonable" cost to society. The story kicks off with cheerful doggy Bob, who finds a human foot on one of his daily walks. This lovely scene is a great example of how this novel manages to avoid taking itself too seriously, even when dealing with malicious villains and enormous conspiracies.
The foot belonged to Eat Teague's father, whose ashes Eat has been trying to scatter for a few weeks. When Eat sets out to investigate what really happened to his father, he and his long-suffering girlfriend Andy suddenly find that they represent a threat to the profitable new regime - which isn't the safest position to be in. Fortunately Eat is an inventor, whose gadgets give him an edge.
I found this book to be a really fast-paced and satisfying read. I was left with a few questions (how could a scheme of this kind have continued to expand nationally, when secrecy was apparently its only defence against being shut down? And why were the bodies were being hacked up in the first place, apart from so that a dog could find a foot?) but I still enjoyed the unfolding of the plot. Eat and Andy are a cute couple, and I hope we'll see more from them in future books.