2150: An unnamed police detective receives a message from Akira Kimura, the preeminent scientist and living legend who vanquished a world-ending meteor thirty years ago. When he arrives at Akira's home and finds her methodically dismembered, he must dig into their shared past—with the help of a mysterious synesthesia that no one else knows he has—to find her killer.
... one of the best books I've read so far this year ... McKinney gives us a cultural and scientific tour of the 22nd century ... he avoids getting too bogged down in details that would lead the reader away from the story instead of through it. McKinney is also a heck of a writer. I would have finished the book in half the time had I not spent a good deal of effort underlining his short observations and turns of phrase. And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to hunt down and read Midnight, Water City at your earliest convenience, I must note that while it is the opening installment of a trilogy, it is complete in itself. In other words, McKinney won’t leave you riding on a talking choo-choo train and have you wait five years to see what happens, like some people we know. Be prepared to read and underline long into the night.
... a philosophical, futuristic narrative ... Descriptions of looming cloudscrapers and dense underwater cities made of recycled materials bring this intriguing setting to life. Dangerous, inventive technologies are also introduced, while entertaining fight scenes punctuate the story. Set in a plausible future, the novel Midnight, Water City concerns a detective’s reckonings with his complicated past.
... that sense of powerful people concealing crucial secrets from the general public is very much on display in Chris McKinney’s Midnight, Water City—a novel which makes the most of its slow-burning narrative of detection ... About halfway through the novel, I grew concerned about just how its blend of genres would work out. There are long stretches where the narrator’s hunt for answers could be transposed to the present or recent past with only a few details altered. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong in that, there’s also something a little off about setting a mystery in the future without making full use of that fact. Without giving away too much, it’s safe to say that McKinney finds a solution to this conundrum that makes this book work as both a mystery and a work of science fiction. It’s also a novel about a complicated person becoming aware of the terrible things they’ve done—and the terrible things they’ve been less consciously complicit in. That, too, gives this novel a charge, and makes the narrator less of an archetypal figure and more someone trying to do their best impression of one. Despite its futuristic and timeless elements, that’s one detail that also makes this novel feel very contemporary.