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You'll enjoy 'Lock In' if:

  • You are 14 or over.
  • You like sci-fi and social dystopias like 'Noughts and Crosses'.
  • You like a fast pace with plenty of dialogue.

In 'Lock In' a new virus has swept the planet leaving a portion of the population in a comatose state but with a fully operant consciousness. Thanks to technological investment, these Hadens can access society through human like robots called threeps. Some of these Hadens recover with the ability to allow other Hadens to use their bodies. These people are called integrators.

The book begins with a murder involving an integrator, and Chris Shane, a Haden detective living through a threep and new partner a former integrator called Vann set out to solve the crime.

What follows is combination of 'I, Robot' style speculative fiction and 'Maltese Falcon' style crime caper – two genres that I love. And I enjoyed the action scenes. I also liked the way the book tackled themes of ethnicity and of the marginalisation of minorities.

Later the plot did enough to keep me interested, but the book didn't do enough to get me enthralled. There was some sense of character, but I didn't really click with Scalzi's voices. With his heavy focus on dialogue (which I generally like, I didn't feel that the characters' individual voices were sufficiently differentiated, and the book, for me lacked a bit of texture.

I read another review of 'Lock In' that cites a 'Scooby Doo' ending and while I did enjoy the definite resolution, I do feel that this is a pretty astute observation.

Having finished the book,, I did enjoy it, but it's not one that I think a whole lot about. I may read more Scalzi. I may not.

I read this on kindle, and the formatting was pretty, but there were a lot of errors with the paragraphing. These don't bother me massively. But be warned if they're likely to bother you.

OWWF Rating: 6/10





I think you'll enjoy Thread of Hope if:

  • you are 14 or over.
  • you're a fan of Philip Marlowe mysteries.
  • you like a fast moving page turner.
  • you're more into character than sophisticated Police procedure.
  • you want a good FREE book!

I found Jeff Shelby on Amazon kind of by chance. I saw one of his covers – the newest one - I forget the name – Thread of Danger, Thread of Innocence. Anyway, I clicked along and found that the first book in the Joe Tyler series, Thread of Hope, was free! So I thought, what the heck? Let's give it a try.

So, Joe Tyler? He's a guy with a past. With a missing daughter and an untidy divorce and a best friend in a coma, and yes it is serious, actually. Anyhow Joe Tyler finds missing kids. That's what he does. But here he is in his old home town trying to clear his friend. Of course things get complicated, and there are romance issues too. Of course there are.

Anyway I got into this pretty quick. I'm a big fan of Chandler so this mystery hit the spot for me. Joe Tyler is tough, but not too tough, smart but not too smart, brave but not gung-ho. Very much in the Marlowe mould. The writing isn't blindingly crafted but it's clear, crisp, functional and effective. It does the job.

Download it now and see if you agree.

Having read the book I had a nose at Shelby's biography. He's a high school English teacher, like me; he writes P.I. Capers, and I'm writing one too. He's also written a YA novel that looks to be on the verge of YA and NA. Like my book. Shelby, though, is unlike me, super prolific. I'd love to know how he does it. Oh yeah, and he's a Jeff too - we're a pair of homophones.

OWWF Rating: 8/10