The New York City of the not-too-distant future is a surveillance state. Thousands of video cameras are mounted on street corners and in subways, and a special corps of elite NYPD officers roam the city undercover with high-tech tranq-guns. It's the era of "PEACE," an acronym for "Police Enforced Anti-Crime Environment," and it's turned New York into a city where no crime -- from petty vandalism to first-degree murder -- goes undetected.
Enter Mac Wells, a cop whose legendary cool reserve masks a fierce loyalty to his colleagues and his city. As one of New York's elite undercover agents, he is part of a flagship anti-crime experiment that everyone wants to work. And at first glance, it seems to be doing just that -- crime is down; the citizens are happy. But strange and random acts of violence persist, in a pattern that no one can decipher. And when Mac accidentally tranqs his partner during a subway crime, he unwittingly stumbles upon a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of the police department...and the government. Now Mac is forced to choose between his loyalty to his colleagues and his sense of justice -- and to figure out whom to trust before he becomes the next casualty of a tragic "accident."
P.E.A.C.E. is a heart-pounding thrill ride that signals the debut of a potent new voice in the thriller genre. Breathlessly original, P.E.A.C.E. launches the dazzling career of a writer destined to rank alongside Ed McBain and David Baldacci.
Holmes's debut thriller, set in a futuristic New York City, explodes out the narrative gate with a crazy grandma, flashing stun guns and a daring subway-track rescue by an acrobatic policeman. Unfortunately, Holmes fails to deliver on this promising beginning, with dull characters and a colorless setting leaching his tale of drama. Mac Wells, a steely-nerved cop, works for P.E.A.C.E. (Police Enforced Anti-Crime Environment), an agency that operates the Big Apple's newly installed surveillance system. While monitoring the subway one day, the cameras spot an armed suspect. Wells and his partner, boyhood friend Sam Mullane, respond to the call; during the fight, Wells accidentally shoots Sam with his tranquilizer gun. Sam seems fine for a few days, then dies under suspicious circumstances at the hospital. Wracked by guilt, Wells tries to find out why; is P.E.A.C.E. implicated? A secret investigation in a society under constant surveillance by video cameras proves tricky, and as Wells starts getting answers, he quickly becomes a wanted man. The novel's premise is compelling, but it's development feels detached and bloodless. The characters move mechanically and humorlessly, and the plot sorely lacks any element of surprise. Further, Holmes's New York City is devoid of almost all traces of what the future may hold. Most people still get around in yellow cabs, the New York Times is still the paper of record and most of the music seems to be Baby Boom rock. This thriller may have some appeal in urban areas where police brutality is an issue.