5 star

Publisher: Vault Books
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Snapshot is a Science Fiction detective story following Anthony Davis, a cop assigned to Snapshot Duty. In this vivid world that author Brandon Sanderson has built, 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.

Snapshot is a mystery novella set in the near future about two detectives who are assigned to Snapshot cases. These cases are special in that they refer to cases where the detectives go into a type of virtual reality that is a recreation of a specific real life day. The detectives decide to forgo their instructions and investigate an incident above their clearance level.

What I enjoy most about Sanderson’s world building and creations is his fantastic use of checks and balances. In Snapshot, he’s created a futuristic world in which we have the ability to recreate a single day to investigate crimes and gather evidence. However, once inside the Snapshot, any interaction with people or things creates Deviations from what actually happened that day. Additionally, this evidence can be used in real life trials, however a high percentage of Deviations in a Snapshot can be used against the prosecution.

Snapshot features the right amount of world building to create a realistic setting, so the reader can focus more closely on the detectives’ investigation. In the postscript, Sanderson talks about finding a balance between story and world building so he could focus the readers’ attention elsewhere. Sanderson achieves this balance flawlessly.


Overall, Snapshot is a fantastic detective novella with a futuristic twist I didn’t see coming. I would definitely recommend reading it to anyone looking for a quick and interesting read between books to shake things up!