Book Review: Los Alamos

LosAlamosby Michael D. Pederson


Los Alamos
Joseph Kanon
Island Books, 517 pp.

This murder mystery is Kanon’s debut novel. He’s chosen to set it at the culmination of the Manhattan Project during the final months of WWII, a setting already filled with tension and intrigue, even without a murder. The story revolves around the investigation into the mysterious death of a security guard at the Los Alamos facility. Our hero is brought in to ensure that the murder has nothing to do with the atomic bomb project, solving the crime is merely a secondary goal. Kanon does an excellent job of recreating the feel of the project and capturing the character of the people working there while seamlessly blending them with his own characters. Herein though lies the largest flaw of the novel—in murder mysteries you can usually discount the obvious red herrings, in Los Alamos you can also rule out the historical personalities, leaving you with few potential suspects. Even so this is a highly enjoyable novel and a first-rate mystery.


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