The Shamshine Blind: A Novel (Paperback)
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A beguiling blend of noir detective story and science fiction perfect for fans of Michael Chabon and Emily St. John Mandel, “this fiercely intelligent and utterly original debut” (Anna North, New York Times bestselling author) imagines a world where emotions have been weaponized, and a small-town law enforcement agent uncovers a conspiracy to take down what’s left of American democracy.
In an alternate 2009, the United States has been a second-rate power for a quarter of a century, ever since Argentina’s victory in the Falkland’s War thanks to their development of “psychopigments.” Created as weapons, these colorful chemicals can produce almost any human emotion upon contact, and they have been embraced in the US as both pharmaceutical cure-alls and popular recreational drugs. Black market traders illegally sell everything from Blackberry Purple (which causes terror) to Sunshine Yellow (which delivers happiness).
Psychopigment Enforcement Agent Kay Curtida works a beat in Daly City, just outside the ruins of San Francisco, chasing down smalltime crooks. But when an old friend shows up with a tantalizing lead on a career-making case, Curtida’s humdrum existence suddenly gets a boost. Little does she know that this case will send her down a tangled path of conspiracy and lead to an overdue reckoning with her family and with the truth of her own emotions.
Told in the voice of a funny, brooding, Latinx Sam Spade, The Shamshine Blind is “a rip-roaring beautifully crafted mash-up of cop noir, sci-fi, and alt-history that left me dazzled by its prescience and literary zing” (Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface).
About the Author
Paz Pardo is an Argentine-American award-winning playwright and novelist. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. Raised in America, she currently lives in Argentina. The Shamshine Blind is her first novel. Find out more at PazSays.com.
“In this fiercely intelligent and utterly original debut, Paz Pardo creates an alternate reality that speaks with eerie accuracy to our contemporary anxieties and conflicts. A page-turning mystery, a moving love story, and a technological thriller in one, The Shamshine Blind imagines a world where emotions have become deadly weapons, and a tenacious detective must reckon with her own past in order to find a way through.” —Anna North, New York Times bestselling author of Outlawed
“The Shamshine Blind is a deadpan hilarious allegory for our times, in the classic style of Philip K. Dick and the other great social satirists of science fiction — full of heart and sharp as a razor.” —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future
"Dark, witty, and wonderfully speculative . . . The Shamshine Blind reimagines the United States as a scarily familiar shadow of itself, a place where nothing can be trusted — not even your own feelings. A rip-roaring, beautifully crafted mash-up of cop noir, sci-fi, and alt-history that left me dazzled by its prescience and literary zing." —Leah Hampton, author of F*ckface
"Combining an alternate-history police procedural of the highest stakes with an examination of the authenticity of feelings in a world where emotions can literally be manufactured,The Shamshine Blind is inventive, suspenseful, and heartfelt." —Jane Pek, author of The Verifiers
“[An] appealingly strange novel. Pardo pulls off a difficult feat, delivering a novel that’s both topical and entertaining.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A heady mix of high-concept speculative fiction, alternative history, and hardboiled detective fiction. Pardo’s novel is full of wit and wild invention and is sure to leave readers wanting more.” —CrimeReads
“The blend of mystery, sci fi, and alternative history works well to create a completely new and fascinating read. Telling the tale in the mode of noir with naturally subtle world building pulls the reader right into the setting of the story.” —Booklist
“High, high concept meets classic detective fiction… A heady, deep-dyed debut that suggests more thought-provoking work to come.” —Kirkus
“This science-fictional noir…brings a new twist to both parts of its equation, with the mystery and all its delicious red herrings set in a world not quite like the present…Highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)
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