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review 2014-12-30 13:16
Review: The Killer App by John Writher
The Killer App: Would You Die to Be Young Again - John Writher

Publication Date: 27th February 2014


Publisher: Higive


ISBN: 9780992837310


Source: Netgalley


Rating: 4/5



The Killer App is set in a future generation where Britain is crippled by an ageing population, and the associated spiralling costs of pension, health and social care. The new Prime Minister, Robert Hand, pledged to strip-search the country’s finances, as well as funding research and innovation, to remedy the situation. He teams up with Bill Haugan, a ruthless American businessman with a penchant for pushing the boundaries, and Janet Icks, a hard-working genetic scientist wedded to her laboratory. 

On top of the snow-covered pistes around Davos, Switzerland, the unlikely trio hatch a killer experiment designed to revolutionise society. They all have their own personal interests in the proposal – Hand wants the public vote for solving the demographic imbalance, Icks is keen to test her research to transfer DNA after death, while Haugan has designs on expanding his empire – yet the worlds of politics, big business and science become uncomfortable bedfellows in a bid to rebalance the population. 

All they need is someone willing to “die to be young again”. 

Experiment Candidate 1456 is a frustrated artist in his late thirties, depressed at what his life has become after a failed marriage. Convinced he can do better, he is thrilled to be selected for this trial regeneration and sees the proposal as an opportunity to drop off the grid and start over. Little does he know what lies ahead… Just as the experiment starts, ethical opponents sabotage proceedings and violently shatter the lives of those involved, while events unravelling from the protest leave many secrets exposed. 


Writher effortlessly plunges the reader into the chaos of a future generation, where commerce, politics and science collude to artificially rebalance the population demographic. Exploring the bond of family, the handcuff of business and conviction of the self-righteous, The Killer App follows the fall out when a social gamble with life and death takes a wrong turn. 


Considering the technological and health-related developments of the past decade, nobody really knows what the future holds. However, a compelling new 2025-based social drama novel introduces readers to a mass genetic manipulation experience unlike anything they’ve heard of before. 

A thriller and a science fiction novel with an educational plot, on the social crisis of the XXI Century, the meaning of age, family, science, politics and business. 

In the most unique of literary projects, ‘The Killer App’ fuses thriller, Science Fiction, education and food-for-thought to redefine age, family, technology and politics. The big question – would you embrace new technology that could bring you back to life for forty years, aware of your previous existence? 



The concept of this book fascinates me - the option to die, peacefully and painlessly, at age 40 to be reborn anew as a newborn - in this age of cosmetic surgery and desire for youthfulness, I wonder how many people would choose this as a way to avoid growing old.

This début from Writher makes compulsive reading. The science is explained well, the characters are complex and interesting and the story unfolds with gripping tension on every page. I pretty much read this in one sitting as I really wanted to find out how the book concluded - what a surprise ending! My only criticism would be that it feels unfinished, but I'm guessing a second book will pick up the story.



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review 2014-08-16 22:31
[Book Review] The Killer App
The Killer App: Would You Die to Be Young Again - John Writher

I absolutely love the concept of this book.  I was looking exploration of ethics, speculative technology, a complex setting, and intrigue.  The website interesting, and to be utterly honest, a little creepy.

Unfortunately I found little compelling in this story.  The plot and writing weren't polished or developed enough.  Maybe I'm asking too much, but the idea had such promise, and the tagline really is remarkably compelling for it's simplicity.  The characters felt flat, lacking depth at best, and resembling stereotypes at worst (an environmentalist/eco-terrorist with the legal birth name of Gaia among them).  Probably the most interesting figure in the book, the test subject, is an utterly unlikable character.

I was hoping for a fast-paced, techno-thriller akin to Nexus and was disappointed.  There is a build up of tension, but it's a slow, pondering with reluctant payout.  Moments of tension left me rolling my eyes rather than sitting on the edge of my seat.  The story isn't necessarily bad, it just didn't deliver what I was looking for.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2014/08/book-review-killer-app.html
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review 2014-07-15 12:48
The Killer App
The Killer App: Would You Die to Be Young Again - John Writher

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!


"Would you die to be young again?"


England's facing serious problems with ageing and has a serious chance of going bankrupt. Janet, a leading genetics scientist, has discovered a weird way of cloning (that somehow involves newborn babies) that could offer the lucky few to be 'reborn' and be young again. Problem is, the procedure isn't strictly ethical *ahum* and needs to be tested first...


I tried not to get too upset about the strange 'scientific' method that is used, telling myself 'It's science fiction, it can be major BS, that's not the point!', but it was a hard job not to. It seems like some major steps back since cloning (and BTW, why not just use cloning). Other methods used are strangely mortal, like collecting DNA (that, as everyone probably knows can be obtained via easily collectable body fluids like saliva or blood). Not in this brave new world. And to top that, they use a 25 centilitre syringe on a newborn baby. 25 centilitre is a big glass of water, you don't inject that amount of fluid into anyone (I think, but I'm not a doctor; I'd say you give them an infuse in that case) but definitely not in a baby! (So much for trying not to look suspicious!) </rant>


Besides, I didn't understand the plan. OK, ageing is a problem, there's not enough money for pensions. But please, explain to me how selecting people of 40 (that will die and be born again) is going to solve the problem? True, they won't live till they need a pension, but aren't the people of 40 the ones that pay the pensions of today? How's that going to solve anything? So, for me at least, the story was highly illogical.


Janet was such a stupid character. She agrees to this highly unethical experiment, in a secret lab, and she's surprised that people would kill to preserve experiment/secret? She's so naive. And in other situations she doesn't leave a good impression either. I couldn't care if she made it to the end of the book or didn't. AE1456 is another jerk. He doesn't even get a name, but is annoying from the moment he's brought up in the story. I just couldn't feel sorry for him.


I normally like Dystopian stories, especially when they're set in England, but I was asking myself whilst reading The Killer App if I was enjoying myself, and the answer, quite frankly, was 'No'. Of course that's a personal thing, but for that quite sums it up.

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