Golden State: Ben Winters
What would happen if committing a lie or not speaking the truth got you hard time? What would happen if someone overheard your conversation in a crowded restaurant, questioned you and both you and your brother are arrested? One for stealing his mother’s dream pills helping her to not have such bad dreams and taking the blame, while the second intentionally lied about the incident causing his brother to admit guilt when he was the guilty party. One might get six month the other a lot more. This poor mother neve saw it coming but in Golden State, where lies and untruths are unlawful, you better be careful before you speak.
This is a state that is remains closed to the outside world and created to prevent lies from spreading and a society that existed no longer does. Can people honestly tell the truth, and do they realize their every move, words and actions are under scrutiny all the times. Their words and their movements are recorded and those that do not follow the rules are thrown out to a place outside of Golden State.
Our main character is Laszlo Ratesic who works for what the author created the Speculative Service, where the employees are allowed just some to speculate on what might have happened and occurred at times without any records to support their thoughts or suppositions. Ratesic is smart and sees things through his own lenses or eyes and is sent as a Speculator to find out what happened during this crime that appears to be a murder but is it? He learns more about those involved, questions everyone in the regular police force but feels hindered by the fact that he now has a partner he calls Ms. Paige who seems to see things differently. He thinks that someone is working to take down the core beliefs of Golden Sate and he begins to wonder and question the total approach to truth that has created more problems than it solves. As we enter the crime scene and see the body and learn how they determine what happens, the author allows Laszlo to enter the apartment of Moss Crane our victim and we learn just how controlled the lives and environments of the people of Golden State are and the fact that even what they read is prescribed, how they live is well documented as they are presented at age 17 with boxes to keep everything that has to be recorded and saved forever.
Does anyone ever really tell the whole truth? Is lying that bad? As Lazslo reminds us that children lie, parents lie to them when necessary can there really be a world devoid of them? Does he embellish or lie?
Every day must be recorded, slips, stamps and events and placed in a special bag and labeled but when they cross check and see what Crane has in his six boxes, why are two weeks missing? He has over 19 boxes and he as age 54 like him only 6. In a world with Fake News and political strife, where even politicians make up stories to spread their lies camouflaged as their truths. It is deemed illegal to tell a lie or contradict the truth or change the truth to suit what you want to so. Lies are the most dangerous and punishable crimes. His role is to speculate and find the untruths that happened when a crime such as this murder was committed. Speculators are hired to learn where lies come about and the only ones, not the police to act. The death of Mose Crane, a construction worker who supposedly fell off a roof during a job. His legacy seems to be that he worked, ate, slept, and went back to work. Nothing remarkable or unique.
Could there really be anomalies related to the death of Crane and he’s working with Paige but is he trying to uncover something sinister? Every person in this state has what the author states as a Day Book where they record their findings, calculations and other important information like a daily journal. Each one has it plus it has carbon paper to make sure they have it in duplicate to turn in. Weakness come from lying and deletes or weakens trust and takes down society. From the start of the novel when he senses that the two boys are lying and cannot eat, you think he’s clairvoyant or something and yet has this unique ability to seek out and find lies as we recall that this boy has taken his mothers’ dream stopper pills and it’s against the law.
Laszlo does not always see the truth as he thinks it is presented and when he realizes that maybe the death of Crane is not what he thinks he approaches the one person that he thinks can tell him what he needs know the Acknowledged Expert on the Enforcement of the Laws is approach by him and Aysa and confronted. Petras the head of this division grants them 3 and a half minutes to state their case. Judge Barney Sampson was approached by both Speculators and the result we learn that he made his rounds of many women including Captain Tester and others. His death will go down in the record and can be replayed repeatedly if the demand to see the stretches. She has hidden things and her house is off the record and the result will leave you wondering what anomalies were uncovered? When they enter her house and demand that she come with them and want to arrest her you begin to wonder what is real, what is imagined and what is the true definition of the truth? The final ending of that scene takes the life of someone close to the investigation but the hidden truths and lies about that person will shock the reader when revealed as the author allows us the narration of someone else who bared credence about what happened to his brother Charlie and why he as Laszlo says was never wrong.
Watching the stretches of Mose Crane and seeing the shadow that was planted and the fake clues the final ending will change it all as someone claims to be a hologram and what Laszlo does well I can’t divulge that since it’s already in the record, permanent and this barrier or unexpected event far from the norm you the reader will have to read for yourself and decide what the end result will be.
What is the truth? When told that a car crash happened, and it was radioed to him and a case he had been dispatched to handle should have been, would have been prevented him from getting assigned the Los Feliz case. To Mose Crane. Manipulated, events changed and someone creating what he wanted him to see as we all view Charlie’s final moments and we see who turned off his life support machines or did we? Lies are told as untruths unfold and the ending will allow you the reader to decide the final fate of what some would define as Truths or Lies! At the end when you get to see both worlds: Golden State and learn more about the outer world you decide where you would want to wind up! Lies are told for many reasons to cover up the truth and keep someone from getting hurt. Lies are told all the time in courts of law by witnesses, paid liars to get lesser sentences or people that people that what they think or have seen is the truth. Truths are our perceptions of realities and the author will make you question your decisions, what you might witness and what you value as you too might decide to track you daily events, keep your own Day Book or Night book but beware: Someone might read it before it’s buried in your own private boxes or basement not to be read until you too are part of the other world. Laszlo can feel the lies in the air wouldn’t it be great if we could all discern truth from lies, fact from fiction. The fun part are the idioms and the math questions asked and answered.
When the truth is distorted and your world taken to another place what happens when what you think you know or see is really a reality that someone creates? What happens when Laszlo enters what you might call his very own Twilight Zone as the world takes on a different shape.
This book will take you to different places hoping that you the reader will truly understand that lying is dangerous, getting caught even more and living in this Golden State where opinions do not count, free will is forbidden, relating events the way you see them might get you too well read it and find out because author Ben Winters created this dystopian novel developing in your mind the definition of Truth! Never speculate on the truth! Living in the shadow of someone else can you ever really see the light? Is there a true definition of Truth or is it whatever we want to believe?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine/MJ Network