This is an edgy, pacy, futuristic and oh so very polished cyber thriller. At its centre is the author's idea of what life could be like beyond "Second Life" (virtual world for the sad and lonely geeks!) The skin suit: a totally immersive online experience from software giants Wadesoft....."where the person wearing the suit can be made to feel the physical sensations of whatever software simulation the program is running...." Once the user enhances his body by wearing the skin he can enter the Streamplex where all his needs and wants can be realized in a virtual environment.
FBI agent Rose Blake has failed in her mission to capture and incarcerate Shane Koenig, a killer who performs the most heinous deaths on this victims before uploading the video to his KKillKam site which is viewed by those who troll the shadowy side of the internet...the darknet. She has no time to dwell on past mistakes and must now use all her energy to investigate a suspected arson. However when a body is discovered Rose will commence a journey that will see her become engrossed in a world of online fantasy and video games, a world without rules or regulation and a world where she will encounter unexpected help in the form of project DIVA (an intelligence that can think for itself and make decisions) amidst "an orgy of virtual massacre and destruction."
Having not read Simon Scarrow's historical novels ( a mistake I plan to rectify) I was intrigued by his latest offering an almost futuristic crime thriller which goes beyond the virtual world giving a glimpse of what might be possible and how those possibilities create a frightening but not unreasonable scenario. I felt a certain warmth towards agent Blake her love for her son Robbie and her worry about husband Jeff who held lustful thoughts for the lovely Pandora and when not reciprocated purchases his own skin suit, enters Streamplex there hoping to realize his dark inner self. This novel is filled with intelligent, perceptive thought and analysis, a compassionate hero and a deadly foe who will stop at nothing to damage and destroy. Will Shane Koenig by finally stopped? Will Rose successfully navigate the virtual world of Streamplex? Will Jeff be saved from his overworked labido? All will become clear in an exciting and very fulfilling conclusion that leaves open the possibility of further novels in the series. Thanks to netgalley for this gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.
Published by: Headline (9 March 2017)
Source: Publisher provided proof copy
It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto the streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.
Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.
Another case for Marnie typically means everything else takes a back seat until I've finished it, a few days at the most. For one reason or another, it's taken me a few weeks to finish this one. I found it quite hard to get into the story at the start, it didn't seem to 'grab' me as instantly as the first three in the series had. Then again, I was also struggling physically, so managing to read for any decent amount of time most nights was proving very difficult too. Maybe this was why I had found it such hard going?
I loved that we got to find out more about Marnie's and, in particular, Noah's home lives in this book. Finding out a little more each time as well as following along with a new case is brilliant. I really enjoy finding out what makes them tick as people too, and its great to see them in a setting other than work.
There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, something I'm not sure I managed very effectively all of the time. There are a couple that it would be great to see again in another book some time, including DCS Ferguson. We also see Stephen Keele again here, he is truly vile and makes my skin crawl! Sarah has written him so well! I defy anyone to do anything but despise him!
A chilling, gritty case of the kind you rarely hear reported makes for hard reading. Sarah has a unique way of writing so that you feel empathy with the perpetrators too. How does she do that?! That is some talent! Once I got into my stride,I couldn't put this book down. Now, I'm impatient for #5! Thanks to Headline for the proof in return for my unbiased review.
Published by: Headline (28 July 2016)
ISBN : 978-1472226433
The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.
He's the head of her new family.
D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.
Detective Inspector Marnie Rome feels like a friend I've not seen seen for a while; she's one of my favourite female detective characters and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into another case alongside her.
The way the book starts is quite shocking and immediately awakens your senses. Just like Marnie and her team, you're left wondering who the girl is and what her story is, where she came from and where she has gone. I was hooked from that first page.
We then see how things are in Harm's house. All is fine as long as everything is carried out according to his strictly ordered routine. I found this so darkly disturbing, it really gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl! Sarah Hilary seems to be so good at describing the environment and actions that have that effect.
As Marnie's team do a bit more digging after speaking to witnesses, it seems no one is quite what they seem! The list of suspects grows, with more twists and a couple of genuine jaw dropping moments that I didn't see coming. It's scarily good!
Sarah's writing flawlessly flows from one chilling scene to the next, surpassing all but the very best of her contemporaries.
Thanks to Headline for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.