Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
Publication Date: Available Now from Headline
Source: Publisher review copy via BookBridgr.
It is ten years since the attack that reduced Pittsburgh to ashes. Today all that remains is the Archive: an interactive digital record of the city and its people.
John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor, one of the ‘lucky ones’ who escaped the blast. Crippled by the loss of his wife and unborn daughter, he spends his days immersed in the Archive with the ghosts of yesterday.
It is there he finds the digital record of a body: a woman, lying face down, half buried in mud. Who is she … and why is someone hacking into the system and deleting the record of her seemingly unremarkable life? This question will drag Dominic from the darkest corners of the past into a deadly and very present nightmare.
Highly enjoyable and very different (for me) tale here, a wonderful eclectic mixture of mystery, thriller and science fiction, with a healthy dose of irony and some very emotional content. Despite me needing to get my head around the style of writing (the characters in this world all have implanted adware which fills their vision with never ending updates and advertising which constantly interrupt the narrative as much as Dominic’s thought processes!) once I had it boy was I right there. A future world that is not at all unlikely (google glass anyone?) but which I’m not sure I would want to live in it was intriguing and fascinating.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow apparently is “Cyberpunk” which is a sub genre I’ve never really been able to get my head around the meaning of (who makes up these things anyway?) but for me it was at its heart a tale of loss and grief. Our main protagonist John “Dominic” Blaxton lost his wife to a bomb that reduced the city of Pittsburgh to ashes. The technology of the day has created an “archive” which allows him, and other survivors, to immerse themselves in a virtual reality and relive moments with their loved ones. Dominic practically lives there while working on the side for a company investigating insurance claims – when he discovers a body, a possible murder – he ends up caught up in a web of deceit and a dangerous cover up. Threatened with the loss of his memories, he finds himself in all kinds of trouble and off we go…
So we have an adventure to be sure, the world building is stunningly good, the mythology behind the bombing is a mystery and its kind of very much in the background. One city gone, the rest of the world moves on pretty much, works around it, which in a way made the whole thing quite horrific. There are many weird and wonderful characters to meet along the way, all well drawn. There is also a subtle complexity to the writing that absorbs you completely into their lives, a clever and thoughtful prose that allows the world to come alive. Then bang at the centre is a murder mystery and a villain just waiting to be uncovered..
There is an interesting theme throughout, and one that captured my imagination, about letting go, working through loss, coming out the other side. In a way the archive prevents Dominic from doing this – how DO you accept the death of a loved one if you can constantly see them in your peripheral vision, can always visit with them in an old memory. On the surface this seems like a magical ability to have but a broader viewpoint would suggest otherwise. That is one thing I’m going to have to think about…
Overall I thought this was brilliant. If this is Cyberpunk I want to read more of it – a lot more. Preferably from this author.
Happy Reading Folks!