Peter Heck, Washington Post
"Williams' longest, most densely realized and successful book to date."
Roland Green, Chicago Tribune
"This is a novel that works marvelously on a variety of levels-- as an adventure story, a trek through personal entanglements, a study in detailed police techniques and an enlightening lesson in theoretical science. And if that isn't enough, it also offers a totally unexpected ending."
Loren Hawn is a traditional Western peace officer walking the streets of 21st Century New Mexico, and seemingly unaware that times have changed. And when a dying man named Randal falls out of a bullet-riddled car and dies in Loren’s arm, Loren finds he isn’t the only man living in the wrong time--- because he remembers pulling Randal’s dead body out of a wrecked car twenty years before.
He knows the car belongs to a scientist who works at the high-security laboratory built on the outskirts of town, and he knows that if he doesn’t work fast, all evidence of a crime will disappear into national security vaults. In order to bring justice back to his community, Loren will have to risk everything, his life, his job, his faith, and his family.
This is one of Walter Jon Williams' finest works.
Williams's ( Angel Station ) flawed futuristic thriller is set at the beginning of the next century, during the ``days of atonement'' observed by the Church of the Apostles, a period of contemplation, each day devoted to one of the seven deadly sins. Loren Hawn, police chief of Atocha, N.M., is driven by overwhelming rage, religious fervor and the desire to ``guard his marriage, his daughters, his community''; he styles himself ``the sword and arm of the Lord.'' Then an experiment at the nearby Advanced Technology Laboratories leaves a body on Loren's doorstep--apparently that of a man who died 20 years ago. As Loren investigates the ``John Doe''--is his appearance some sort of miracle?--he gradually comes to believe that he has been betrayed by all he cherished--his family, his town, his church. Ironically, he is right--ATL is involved in a crime--but Loren is over the edge. He is ultimately overtaken by rage and driven to a frenzy of murder and destruction. Although not completely successful in his portrayal of Loren's disintegrating personality, Williams does present a credible exploration of a near-future community.