Would you trust an automatic driverless car which uses smart technology that knows everything about you? Me neither. However, in the near future, that’s how people travel in this thriller by John Marrs. The premise is that eight of these cars are hijacked, filled with explosives and put on a collision course. It’s up to a jury and the public to decide which passengers die and which deserve to be saved.
Most of the book is a tense page-turner which is not only brutal and thrilling, it comments on the technology increasingly dominating our lives. You could also take it as a warning not to put so much of yourself online and not to be so quick to judge people you don’t know. Unfortunately, the last hundred pages were a drag. The tension evaporated. There was too much explaining and not enough action. I found the writing a little clunky although I’m more forgiving of this for thrillers. I thought the characters were interesting, but one of them, an MP who is one of the driving forces (excuse the pun) behind the adoption of driverless cars, was like an evil pantomime villain and not a real person. I don’t know if this was intentional but it added a touch of the ridiculous which jarred with the serious nature of the novel’s concept.
Worth a read for a potential vision of the future and for a mostly gripping thriller.
Published in 2019.