Rivers of Gold: A Novel - Adam Dunn
By 2013 a new Great Depression has hit the United States, and New York City has been hit hard. A network of illegal underground clubs has sprung up across the city, hotbeds of sex and drugs moving from abandoned restaurant to abandoned restaurant. Deeply immersed in the world of these "speaks" is Renny, a young photographer and drug dealer whose supply network operates out of a covert network of taxicabs.

On the other side of the law, NYPD Detective Santiago is part of an experimental police unit using taxis as undercover police cars. When cabbies start to turn up murdered, the investigation indicates a possible connection with illegal drugs and underground nightclubs. As Santiago investigates, he is equally disturbed by his mysterious new partner, who may not be who he claims.

Rivers of Goldis a mixed bag, full of many good ideas that never seem to go anywhere. Dunn has obviously done his research and his setting is fully realized; unfortunately, his new depression era is never explored in depth, with only passing mentions of Hoovervilles and abandoned buildings. Consequently, the novel starts out extremely slow, with tons of scene setting but no real plot pickup until about halfway through the novel.

Renny, one of the major characters, is also thoroughly unlikeable, coming off as a know-it-all, rude misogynist who views women simply as sex-objects with letters instead of names. He's not so much a villain as (noted even by other characters) an annoyance.

Santiago is much more sympathetic, and his story is also much more interesting. Again, Dunn wastes his opportunity, and provides little detail into Santiago's investigations into both the murders and his partner. There seems to be too much revelation and too little actual "detection;" one wishes Dunn focused more on this side of the story rather than wasting time on Renny's antics.

The story is very well written, and has great one-liners, but there's too many problems to recommend. Dunn has an interesting concept, and explores some real issues facing modern cab drivers, but all the ideas seem to get lost amongst themselves.

A finished copy was provided through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.