Critical Incident by Troy Blackford is a crime novel but could be called a new-age crime novel in that it is about a criminal organization stealing, selling, and profiting from activities derived from medical research. There are many urban myths about people waking up to find they are missing a kidney. This is that type of novel. It is a short read, about one hour. I downloaded this from Kindle Unlimited (KU).
Homeless people have been spotted using wax pencils to scrawl graffiti on sidewalks and building walls all over town. It is as if there has been an outbreak of a disease. What do the signs mean? None of the homeless people will talk. When Bentley threatened one of them, the man took off running but during his escape dropped a list with addresses that Bentley and his fellow cops knew were to become targets of more graffiti. One homeless man arrested suffered a strange seizure and died while in custody undergoing interrogation. The only information received was that all the homeless were terrified and were confident they would die if they talked to police.
Bentley’s investigation has provoked a reaction from criminal organizations. His apartment was broken into, his security systems were taken over, and he knew he was being watched. Luckily, he had a computer nerd cop colleague able to trace signals to an industrial warehouse site. Officer Hurdy with his technical expertise accompanied Bentley on a raid of one warehouse. Reluctant to ask for armed backup, they decided to do a reconnaissance before calling for assistance. But they walked into a trap.
And this is where the big surprise (could be a spoiler) comes. Combined with high-tech battling robots, this novella comes to an almost quick ending. There is a lengthy description of fighting between drug impaired humans and poorly programmed robots which mostly reflects the author’s interest in robot technology. This is a short story, a quick read, and will fill the time in a waiting room. There is little character development. It is more of a medical technical thriller; it is a story where the plot is told, not shown.