84K is an audacious, pitch-black dystopian novel that imagines a society where all government services have been privatized, sold off to a global mega-corporation in a quest for "efficiencies". This includes the legal system, where justice is strictly for-profit and criminals are charged cash sums for heinous acts such as murder. with fines based on the adjudged value of a victim's life to society. The protagonist, Theo Miller, is an auditor, calmly levying fines for crimes, until one day, a killing comes across his desk that he can't justify on the balance sheet or in his conscience. With its complex world-building and an atmospherically jittery prose style, I found this book took a few pages to warm up to, but before long, I was hooked and unable to put it down. There's an urgency to this story's criticism of large-scale income equality and the cycle of poverty that floored me. It presents one of those dystopias that encapsulate just enough elements of our present-day situation to feel like a dire prophecy of things to come... if we don't collectively act to prevent it. If you're looking for a title that hits hard and will resonate with you for days after you finish the last page, 84K is worth your consideration.
Meghan Casey (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)