No Signal – Book Review

iME Series Book 2 By: Jem Tugwell
Published On: June 4, 2020
No. of Pages: 336
Published By: Serpentine Books
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook, & Audio

iMe knew where everyone was. It saved their signal so that it also knew where everyone had been. There was nowhere to hide.

The beauty of this story lies in how it is set in a future that feels so close that you can almost touch it. Even now there are events mentioned in the news about how governments from certain countries are using devices, such as a bracelet, to track an individual’s location and health stats due to the coronavirus. The iME series takes it all a step or two further, but there is enough truth in the core of story to make it all very plausible and far too realistic.

Clive is the main protagonist in the series. He’s by far my favorite character and is so incredibly relatable. Dragging his feet into this future that he does not want is very taxing as it affects his job opportunities, his love life, and his personal freedoms. Choosing to not exercise or not to eat properly is a luxury we all currently have, but in Clive’s world freedom is a dream of yesterday. The iME sees it all and is determined to help Clive choose a better lifestyle. And if he doesn’t, then there is always the vending machine to turn him in to the Freedom Unit Enforcement under the Ministry of Well-being and Health branch of government, where you can be disciplined for not following the expected guidelines. What hope is there for Clive when he can’t live the life he wants?

The vending machine said: ‘Clive, my friend. What can I get you?’

But No Signal also begins to explore how it affects other areas of governing too. Even tourists entering the country for a short period of time are required to wear a special bracelet called the iTourist. Honestly, I would think this might discourage tourism and have a monetary impact that goes along with that, but if so there is no mention of it.

In No Signal, Clive is still at his same job, but this time he has a new partner – Ava. Zoe is still around, but she has moved on to another position. Life is boring for Clive in the Proximity Crime Unit, but what they don’t know is that four individuals from outside the UK are about to enter the country. They are playing a game with the goal of getting to a destination before their opponents can get to their own destination. It is all a pretense though and the real goal is much deadlier and with a purpose. While that goes on, Clive begins to sense a much broader conspiracy in place concerning members of government and perhaps something new called The Church of the New Modelists. But, in the end perhaps Clive is not alone in his frustration with how much iME really controls.

I like this series. I like how fully-fleshed out the idea of iME is within the context of this world – how far-reaching the technology is and the stranglehold it has on all aspects of society. Given how prevalent technology like this is becoming, I really like how it begs you to begin asking questions about how far is too far in terms of technology, freedom, and privacy, while giving you a rather thrilling and entertaining story all at the same time.

Rating: 5 stars

Description:

In a breathtaking follow-up novel to ‘PROXIMITY’, Serge says it’s the ultimate Augmented Reality game. He’s chosen his Ten carefully – the reckless, driven and strong. He tests them. Ten become Four.

DI Clive Lussac wants to fight the system that controls everything, but he’s ill and losing the people closest to him. In the middle of eco-protests, he’s lost four tourists. As Clive’s world unravels, he and his partners DC Ava Miller and DS Zoe Jordan race to find the tourists and the true reason behind the game. It may already be too late.

A CONTROLLED POPULATION
The UK has embedded technology – iMe.
It knows where you are…all of the time. It controls what you eat.
It has eradicated crime and made everyone healthy.

A DEVASTATED WORLD
The world is on the brink.
The Government talks but it doesn’t act.
It thinks it’s safe.

TIME FOR CHANGE
Who will ignite change?
Who has the determination to see it through?
What will be sacrificed for the cause?

No Signal is Available at the Following Locations:

Serpentine Books is running a Copter competition to give a way 2 signed copies of Proximity (open to UK addresses only):
Rafflecopter Giveaway

Jem Tugwell Author Profile:

Jem Tugwell is a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University.

NO SIGNAL is the second book in the iMe series and follows his thrilling debut novel PROXIMITY. 

Jem is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. In a past life, Jem had a successful career in technology and investment management, and he lives in Surrey with his wife and dog. He has two great children. Outside of his family and writing, Jem’s loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.

Please visit Jem’s website (www.jemtugwell.com) to read more.

Follow Jem:
Twitter: @JemTugwell
Facebook & Instagram: JemTugwellAuthor

An Unequal Defense – Book Review

David Adams #2
By: Chad Zunker
Pages: 247
Published On: May 19, 2020

What a delightful read to run across. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a conspiracy thriller and boy have I missed them. I had almost forgotten how fun they can be and how sucked in I can get as pages furiously fly by as I get caught up in all the twists and turns. This is also my first novel to read by Chad Zunker.

Continue reading “An Unequal Defense – Book Review”

Her Last Mistake – Book Review

Detective Gina Harte #6 by Carla Kovach
Published: May 7, 2020

Her Last Mistake opens to the wedding reception of Kerry and Ed Powell. Kerry is one of Holly’s closest friends, which also includes Lilly and Francesca. Together, the four girls have called themselves the “Awesome Foursome’ since school days. During the party, the man Holly has been secretly seeing tells her he wants to talk to her. She’s hoping he has finally come to terms with some news she has shared with him so she does as she’s asked and goes to the meeting place. The reader is never given the man’s name, so we have no idea who is approaching her when she is attacked and killed.

Continue reading “Her Last Mistake – Book Review”

Dragon Head

Aleksandr Talanov Thriller #4 By: James Houston Turner
Published On: April 2, 2020

Money. It’s all about money. Actually, a lot of money (1.5 billion). The boss of a Hong Kong crime syndicate named Dragon Head wants that money and he almost has it in his reaches when he hits a snag. This particular snag requires Talanov, and so “associates” of Dragon Head are sent from Hong Kong to hunt him down and bring him back.

Continue reading “Dragon Head”

Wall of Silence – Book Review

By: Tracy Buchanan
Published on: April 1, 2020

Wall of Silence opens with the inner thoughts of the person who has stabbed Patrick Byatt, the husband and father of the family. It is automatically clear that one of the three children is responsible for it and there is a cover-up being formed, not to mention overall panic. Soon, Melissa comes home from a bike-ride to find her husband bleeding on the kitchen floor. The children provide some responses to her questions on what happened, but being their mother it doesn’t take her too long to realize the answers aren’t completely truthful.

As you read, the author gives you a very well-rounded view of what a gossipy small town neighborhood might be like. The Byatt’s live in a village called Forest Grove labeled “Utopia of the Woods,” where everything is seemingly perfect and serene. That is except for the Byatt’s, who have had their share of tragedies due to the death of one of their sons several years prior – Joel – and one involving Melissa’s mother.

The neighbors and the village play a decent-sized role within the story as well. Sprinkled through-out the book are “Forest Grove Facebook Chit Chat Group” chapters, where we read the messages being sent in real-time by their neighbors and what they are relaying to each other in regards to the events and what they think about them. In these text/chat messages we get a more accurate sense of their inner feelings and prejudices that social media tends to bring out of some. Sniping, conjectures, rumor-starting….

One of the main factors that will most likely determine whether or not you fully invest into this story is whether you can related to the style of the narrative and overall storytelling. It has a different type of presentation than other thrillers especially with the ‘chit-chat’ group chapters, but probably accurately reflects a lot of what you might see in different social media outlets. It wasn’t quite my style, but that is just me and I feel confident this will work for others.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Description:

Melissa Byatt’s life in Forest Grove seems as perfect as can be: a doting husband, three loving children and a beautiful house in a close-knit community. But appearances can be deceiving.

One evening, Melissa arrives home to the unimaginable: her husband lies stabbed on the kitchen floor, their children standing calmly around him…With horror, she realises that one of them is to blame. But which one? And why would they attack their own father?

Her loyalties torn, in a split second she decides to protect her children at all costs—even if that means lying to the police. But when someone in the neighbourhood claims to know more than they should, Melissa discovers that some secrets are beyond her control…

Can she find out the truth of what happened before the rumours spread? And can the family unite to escape the spotlight of scandal—or are none of them as innocent as Melissa insists?

Hide Away – Book Review

Rachel Marin Thriller #1 by Jason Pinter
Published on: March 1, 2020

To be honest, this month I wasn’t 100% drawn to any of the Amazon First Reads options and almost didn’t select one, but ultimately liked the idea of a police procedural type of mystery and chose Hide Away.

My ultimate fear was that the story would drag or that I would feel obligated to finish a book that didn’t really interest me. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. I found myself so entranced by it that I would mean to read only a chapter and then several chapters later look up to realize what I had done. At one time I was so engrossed in the book that I discovered that I had completely missed the time I had planned to go to lunch.

Continue reading “Hide Away – Book Review”