This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Snapshot. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book
Anthony Davis eats a burrito with his partner, Chaz, as they stroll down the street of New Clipperton in a Snapshot of ten days earlier. Davis wonders briefly about Deviations they may cause, but focuses on the mission at hand. They arrive at the scene of the first crime of the day and decide to watch from inside a liquor store. After a few moments in the store, the shopkeeper grows suspicious and asks them to leave. Chaz shows him his reality badge, and he leaves the shop in a daze. Chaz gives Davis some change from the burrito stand and goes to find a beer. Davis is helping his son Hal complete his coin collection, so he searches for ones he needs. At the appointed time, they hear a single gunshot from a building across the street and see the murderer Enrique Estevez hurrying out. They follow him through alleys and streets until they eventually see him call someone on his phone and drop something. They walk up to a storm drain and find a gun inside. Davis sends a message to Maria, the "in real world" (IRL) liason, telling her where the murder weapon is. They have plenty of time until the next assignment that evening, so Chaz suggests they go over to Ingred Street to get some coffee.
Davis eats some French fries in a diner when Chaz returns from the restroom. Maria sends Davis a message that the murder weapon was found IRL in the place they indicated. Chaz wants to quit for the day since the evening appointment is so trivial. Davis wants to stay, so he tells Chaz about a strange thing he noticed on the scanner forum. A call that day involving several squad cars had no result recorded. Davis convinces Chaz to do some "real" detective work and see what happened. Chaz goes back to the bathroom, and Davis notices a very attractive woman sitting near the back of the diner. Chaz comes back and notices that he is staring at her and encourages Davis to talk to her. Davis contemplates this for a moment but dismisses the idea since she isn't real anyway. As they leave, Chaz tells the woman that Davis wants her number. She hands Davis a slip of paper with her number on it. Davis is surprised that he's very pleased with the encounter. They walk to the site of the mysterious call and find an abandoned apartment building. They force they're way in and start to look around. They find an exercise center in the basement with a swimming pool, still filled with water and also containing eight dead bodies.
Davis and Chaz decide to figure out what's going on even though the murders are obviously being covered up by the police. They wait a while until a man and a woman, presumably real estate agents, arrive. They go into the building then come out moments later, visibly shaken. The woman calls the police, and three cars show up. Again Davis marvels that none of this was reported and decides to head to headquarters to find out.
Davis and Chaz enter headquarters and Chaz gleefully displays his badge, leaving a trail of whispers and tears. They head to Maria's office and show her the reality badge as well, but she is hardly affected. Davis demands to know about the call to the apartment, but she insists on asking the chief for permission. The chief storms into the cubicle and looks at the badge, then walks to his office and shoots himself. Maria relents and they read about the murders. Several sets of bodies had been found, killed in various ways, and prepared with embalming fluid to mask the time of death. The murderer has been nicknamed The Photographer because his methods are designed to make it difficult to use Snapshots to investigate. Davis demands to know why they weren't told of the case. Even with Chaz's gun to her head, Maria refuses to answer, so he shoots her. Officer Dobbs comes over with his gun pointed at Davis, but he just puts it away and shuffles away. Meanwhile, Chaz is looking at his personnel file. He finds out that his superiors find him overly aggressive and a bully, so he is recommended for Snapshot duty. Chaz starts to pull up Davis's, but Davis doesn't want to read it. They decide to leave before one of the cops decides that they can gun them down because there will be no consequences. Davis calls an autocab to get back to the apartment building to talk to the "owners" of the building.
Davis looks through the coins he had taken from Maria's desk as he rides in the cab. He finds a nickel that both Hal and he needed. He thinks of Maria's dead body and sends her a message to reassure himself. He asks her why they weren't told about the Photographer. She demands to know how they know about that, and he pretends that her dupe told them to keep an eye out. She confirms that the murderer hasn't been caught yet and orders them to a safe house. Chaz worries that the creature who creates the Snapshot is watching them, but Davis assures him that it's essentially a dream. The cab arrives, and Davis prepares to swallow the nickel, considering for a moment swallowing the slip of paper as well. He gags on the nickel and can't get it down. Davis finds a youthful drug dealer and buys some tablets from him. He asks for information about the person who is renting the apartment building. He offers more money for his boss for information. The kid runs off to fetch him. The "narco" arrives with several other young dealers, and they proceed down an alley to talk. Once they get him alone, Davis shows him his reality badge. Chaz informs him that his tenant is a murderer. Davis offers him all the money in his savings account for information. The narco doesn't respond at first, overwhelmed by the knowledge that his life will end soon. Davis gives him a cigarette and gently prods him. He describes the man and tells them about a second hideout, an abandoned building that was once a school. He tells them to be careful because the murderer knows that everything is a Snapshot, and he wants to eliminate Deviations. He then takes the money so the boys can enjoy their last moments. Davis and Chaz head over to the second hideout.
They arrive at the abandoned school and find the front door chained, so they go around the back and find the loading bay door in the back unlocked. They enter carefully with guns drawn, Davis getting increasingly nervous. They see a sign for the pool and head that way. They find the pool, but it is drained of water. They head into the locker rooms and find recently discarded trash. There is a makeshift tub in the shower area, but no bodies yet. Chaz notices a door that has been jammed shut by a chair, and they open the door, smelling the foul smell of rotting bodies. When they walk in, they step on dead bees. While Chaz checks the bodies, Davis looks up the autopsies of the other murders. Every set of victims share a common flaw like paralysis or farsightedness, traits that somehow make the Photographer consider them as Deviations. This set of victims were allergic to bee stings. One of the women stirs and feebly asks for water. She tells them that he'll be back at 7:30 to check on them. The woman is in terrible pain, so Chaz shoots her to put her out of her misery. They decide to stake out the school that evening and follow him to his residence in order to forward the information to Maria. In the meantime, they need a break, so they go to Ingred Street.
Davis goes to the park; Chaz heads somewhere else. He finds his son Hal there and plays with him for an hour. Chaz comes back and Davis tearfully bids farewell to his son, giving him the nickel he had found earlier. Davis laments that the time with him isn't real, that IRL he thinks his dad hasn't come to visit for six months due to the custody battle. They head to dinner and Davis thinks he sees the woman from earlier, but it can't be because her clothes are different. As they prepare to order, Davis wishes he could stay in the Snapshot for a while to see if they make any difference. He fiddles with the slip of paper again and stares at it as he eats. He decides that he needs a change in his life and give up hope that he'll get back together with Molly. He leaves the slip of paper behind when they finish eating, and they head back to the school.
They hide out in an apartment building nearby. Chaz doesn't like the incomplete view they have, so he volunteers to go into the building because Davis is too afraid. He confesses to Chaz why he was assigned to Snapshot duty, but Chaz already knows. As Chaz walks over, Davis gets a message from Maria warning him to avoid some gang violence near their next assignment. Davis considers telling her what they're really doing, but he's afraid they will turn off the Snapshot. Chaz texts that he is in the building, and the Photographer isn't there yet. Davis then spots him arriving and entering the building. Chaz follows him into the locker room. He reports that he checked on the bodies and started eating a burger. Davis is forced to leave the apartment he's in as the occupant has returned. He posts himself near the school and waits. Chaz then reports that he's leaving and heading his way. Davis sees him pass and starts to follow, Chaz following on a parallel path. The Photographer turns toward Warsaw street and enters an apartment very close to their next case. Chaz meets up with Davis, and Davis says he wants to go inside to talk to him, hoping to avoid the plan he put in place for 20:17. Chaz wants to go in too, but Davis insists he stay outside. He knocks on the door, and the Photographer answers.
Davis shows him his reality badge. The Photographer smiles and tries to slam the door, but Davis blocks it with his foot and gives chase to a hallway upstairs. There are two rooms and a wooden ladder that has been dropped from the ceiling. Davis sees a bound captive in one room. He talks to the Photographer, telling him he can help him cleanse the Snapshot and keep it going. The Photographer doesn't trust him because he's a cop, so Davis shoots the captive to prove he's on his side. Davis asks what they can do next, and he reveals that he knows of seventeen children in a school with peanut allergies. As he describes his plan, Chaz shoots him from behind, right at 20:17. Davis will now have to go through with his plan, even though they're not in the exact right spot. He points his gun at Chaz and reveals that he knows he's sleeping with his ex-wife when he plays with Hal. Davis is about to shoot, but decides that he does want a fresh start in life, and murdering would not make that possible. He lowers the gun.
Chaz and Davis drink at a bar. Davis has sent Maria a message with information on the Photographer, including his plan for the next day (IRL) to kill the seventeen children. Chaz tries to reconcile with Davis, but Davis says he never wants to see him again and hints that he might kill him later. When they leave the bar, two people, including the woman from the diner, meet them and ask for a word. The man separates them and the woman asks Davis why he didn't kill his partner. Meanwhile, Chaz starts screaming "no!" and the man shoots him. Davis realizes that he is in a Snapshot of a Snapshot of the day he killed Chaz, which he actually had done in the original Snapshot. Maria was suspicious of the circumstances, so they got the "real" Snapshot detectives to investigate. He didn't kill Chaz in this Snapshot because of the slip of paper. She had created a Deviation and changed his choice. They start to leave, but he demands to know if the Photographer was caught. He was, and Davis is relieved to know that he made a difference. Then he insists on seeing the reality badge. He sees his whole life and all its associated emotions, convincing him that he is a dupe. The Snapshot is extinguished.
Since the technology needed to create a Snapshot would be considered super futuristic, making the story itself implausible, the book was initially set in the Reckoners universe, since Epics had fantastical, unexplained powers that could include making Snapshots. However, due to conflicts with film rights, Snapshot is not in the Reckoners universe "right now."
|Characters||Anthony Davis · Chaz · Enrique Estevez|
|Other||Snapshot (event) · Deviation|