I am currently doing research for my next novel, the first installment in a private detective mystery series set in a near-future America where many laws allow citizens to file lawsuits against those who violate these statutes. In these research reports, I summarize what I’m reading and how that book helped me think about my project. In this report: The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel.
Why I Read It:
At this point, I felt pretty good about my grasp of the private investigator crime genre. I wanted one more recently published book to see how a different writer incorporated a mystery plot into a futuristic setting.
What I Learned:
The Body Scout is perhaps the greatest departure from any of the books I’ve read as research thus far. Yet the heart of the story remains constant: a detective (this time an amateur one) driven by his desire for justice in a world of crime and corruption who uncovers the truth despite the forces arrayed against him.
My Biggest Takeaway:
The Body Scout and Gun, with Occasional Music are set closest to the time period I imagine for my detective series. Yet the worlds created by Michel and Lethem are vastly different, which gives me confidence in the amount of leeway I’ll have with the technologies and settings in my novels. The dogged investigator who will stop at nothing to learn the truth and do what is right is the key.
Who Would Like It:
I have to admit, The Body Scout is my least favorite of the books I read for research. Don’t read it if you’re looking for a baseball mystery—there’s a lot more to this novel than baseball, and Michel is admittedly not a baseball megafan. Instead, read it for an imaginative take on how transforming our bodies could shape our future world.