You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”
Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an undocumented immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.
From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, "Which of these people should we save?...And who should we kill first?"
Set in a near-future Britain where automated driverless cars have replaced traditional vehicles, this enjoyable, if flawed, techno-thriller from Marrs (The One) plunges eight people into a nightmare when each of their cars malfunctions: the doors suddenly lock, their route changes to an unknown destination, and a mysterious male voice the Hacker informs them that they're likely to die soon. The Hacker simultaneously seizes control of social media outlets and broadcasts the passengers' frantic reactions to a worldwide audience. When he later announces that viewers will get to vote on who will live or die, the event becomes a global blood sport. Despite an intriguing premise, much of the novel's action occurs offstage. The hijacking's climax follows familiar lines, and experienced genre readers won't be surprised by the Hacker's identity once it's revealed. The book's strength lies in its well-developed characters and in its exploration of issues such as the growing role of AI, mob psychology, and the ethics of who gets to decide who lives or dies. Though this isn't the strongest of showings, Marrs remains a writer to watch.