9780312586454 (advanced reader copy).
Yay! I finished this early! Of course...when I realized I wasn't particularly enjoying the prose or the wild ride of bureaucratic bullshit I started skimming, so that helped. Let's just say, that finishing this on the 4th of July was a little taste of freedom. And while we're at it, let's talk about the uniforms that defend our freedoms.
Korolev, our fearless Soviet hero, does not like wearing his uniform because it prevents people from talking to him. Since he is the Soviet version of an investigative policeman, he needs information from them, and steel traps don't do a lot of talking. I will admit, uniforms make me damned nervous. I'm typically a law abiding citizen, although I've been known to go over the speed limit or be a little lazy with my "stops" at stop signs (I learned to drive from my mother in her 1995 Ford Mustang if you're curious). So why is it that I am genuinely frightened of being arrested, detained, questioned, or otherwise harassed by policemen?
Probably because they are the only identifiable predator that is left in our society. And I'm referring to predator as in Sharks and Bears and Bats-to-the-Face, oh my. Let's face it, there aren't a whole lot of natural predators running around taking down the slow and the weak. Instead we have uniformed people removing the criminal, the violent, the desperate, the poor, and (what I hope is infrequently) the unlucky. This is not to say that I don't respect police officers and the job they do. I've even been known to shake hands with an officer who gives me a speeding ticket. That doesn't mean I trust every cop not to hurt me. They are people, and they are people with a certain amount of power over me by the very nature of their job and their training (I don't know many people paid to be proficient with deadly force).
On another level, military uniforms don't freak me out nearly so much. Probably because the military are mostly designed to combat foreign threats, whereas I, theoretically, am a domestic threat. The chances of me being arrested and detained by someone wearing camos or a dress blues/greens/whatevers is very slim...unless they find out I've been selling information* to Russia, which I haven't. I'm a librarian, I gave it to them for free, duh.
Of course, another reason is my mother wore a military uniform for 20 years of my life, so one might say it's pretty familiar to me. Maybe if I had grown up as a cop's daughter it wouldn't freak me out so much, but I would still probably hate him for running off my boyfriends. Damn you, imaginary cop-dad...that could so be a sitcom, call me NBC.**
Crap, I half forgot where I was going with this.*** Basically what I'm saying is, police make me nervous. Police should make me nervous, they should make everyone nervous. Not because you've done something wrong, but because they only protect us as long as we let them protect us, rather than dictating our behavior. Vigilance is needed in democracy, even a democracy like ours...perhaps especially in a democracy like ours. It would be so easy to have liberties taken away from us: papers being checked, people being rounded up, library records checked. I encourage everyone to question what any authority figure is doing and why they're doing it. If they tell you to sit down and shut up, it's already too late.
*Seriously, I haven't been selling information to Russia. On the other hand if the economy doesn't turn around... Gotta feed the family (which is totally not the Italian Mafia).
**What? You're going to run yet another Law and Order spin-off, but the smash hit Copping Out doesn't strike your interest? Screw you, I'll let Fox buy the rights.
***I apparently need to write more blog posts after having a beer and before fireworks, I think the anticipation of burnt gunpowder does funny things to my brain waves.