Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

Snapshot Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Anthony Davis – one of only two real people in a city of twenty million – caught the burrito his partner tossed to him.


In the near future, society can create a snapshot of a specific day in time. The experiences people have, the paths they follow—all of them are real again for a one day in the snapshot. All for the purposes of investigation by the court.

Davis’s job as a cop on Snapshot Duty is straight forward. Sometimes he is tasked with finding where a criminal dumped a weapon. Sometimes he is tasked with documenting domestic disputes. Simple. Mundane. One day, in between two snapshot assignments, Davis decides to investigate the memory of a call that was mysteriously never logged at the precinct, and he makes a horrifying discovery.


Anthony Davis’ life is going off the rails. A former detective, he now is only entrusted with Snapshot duty, returning to days past to a city that will disappear once their shift is over. His wife has left him, he can’t see his son and he is haunted by his past.

His partner, Chaz, is his opposite, he is blustery, aggressive, has no problem with shooting people (they’re not real, after all, they will all disappear soon).

Together, they examine past crimes, following criminals to see where they dropped their murder weapons – boring stuff. But in this snapshot, Davis and Chaz decide to look up what happened on that day in a certain street. Why cop cars were called but no record logged.

What they find is terrible and throws them into a mystery they did not bargain for.

The mystery is very well written, with plot twist following plot twist. The setting is really interesting as well. There is some kind of creature that can create the past city again. It is all real and in a way, it is not.

Chaz flashed his badge.

It looked normal to Davis. Just a silvery shield with the usual important-looking embossing. Nothing abnormal about it. Except it was a reality badge. To anyone from the Snapshot – to anyone who was a dupe, a fake person – it wouldn’t look like a normal police shield at all. Instead, it was certification that the men bearing it were real.

And equally, certification that you were not.

Chaz and Davis can eat in the snapshot, they can taste, smell and touch. But it will all disappear at the end of the day.

So it is a really cool setting with an interesting plot.


What a great novella. Mystery heaped on mystery, in a great setting.


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