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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Midnight Black by R. J. Eastwood is a dystopian thriller set in the near future. After killing a drug dealer in retaliation for the murder of his wife, former DEA Agent Billy Russell serves seventeen years in the penal colony at Europa. Resigned to the harsh living conditions of the prison, Billy sees a second chance at life when he unexpectedly receives parole and finds himself re-enlisted in law enforcement. But he is shocked to discover Earth has been taken over by the New World Government, which uses law enforcement agencies to target minorities on insubstantial charges to reduce the population. Watching the brutal treatment of suspects at the hands of his superiors makes Billy disgusted at his role as a government-sanctioned hitman. When a rebel group contacts him seeking aid for their cause, Billy finds himself even more conflicted.
Author R. J. Eastwood provides commentary on the destructive impact of fascist ideologies that feel ever more relevant in current times. Midnight Black is raw, violent, and full of political intrigue. The narrative is paced well, and the plot moves in unexpected ways to keep you hooked throughout the pages. Billy's acclimatization to the world after years of imprisonment feels realistic, and the way he navigates his days through a corrupt and dysfunctional society is captivating to read. The characters are distinct, with well-developed arcs. Despite the dark tone of the narrative, it ends on an optimistic note, which felt satisfying. If you enjoy dystopian thrillers with some relevant meta-commentary, Midnight Black is the book for you.