The Store by James Patterson and Richard Di Lallo

Book Description:

Published: August 24, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Store doesn’t just want your money – it wants your soul.

Imagine a future of unparalleled convenience. A powerful retailer, The Store, can deliver anything to your door, anticipating the needs and desires you didn’t even know you had.

Most people are fine with that, but not Jacob and Megan Brandeis. New York writers whose livelihood is on the brink of extinction, Jacob and Megan are going undercover to dig up The Store’s secrets in a book that could change the entire American way of life. But after a series of unsettling discoveries, Jacob and Megan’s worst fears about The Store seem like just the beginning.

Harbouring a secret that could get him killed, Jacob has to find a way to escape The Store’s watchful eye and publish his expose – before the truth dies with him.

Review –

As is obvious from its first page,The Store, is modeled after Amazon, even though it does not expressly mention that continually evolving online and omnipresent institution by name. No, the name of the store is…The Store. It’s not catchy, by any means, but it gets the job done, and so does The Store itself, which has everything you want — and, in some cases, knows what you want before you even want it. Anyone who has ever been just a bit startled when an ad pops up online for a product that they happened to mention in an email or on an Evernote-type application will immediately appreciate this book, with its drones that are seemingly everywhere, monitoring everything and everyone as they deliver merchandise to consumers. What THE STORE does really well, though, is examine the other side of the equation.

You may ask, “What other side?” You order, you wait a day or two, and your shipment arrives. Not much care is given to those who gather your batteries, books, CDs and clothing and put them in one of those now-iconic boxes that are soon on their way to you. THE STORE puts a face to those folks, in the form of Jacob and Megan Brandeis. Jacob and Megan are Manhattanites involved in a branch of the publishing industry who find that their jobs have been made redundant. Worse, the book that they have worked on for a couple of years has been rejected by their publisher. The Store, of course, is both directly and indirectly responsible for this state of affairs. However, it does have plenty of jobs available for what are known as “pickers,” or warehouse workers who fill orders.

In due course, Jacob and Megan pack up their son and daughter and move to what is basically The Store’s company town in Nebraska, which is a far cry from Manhattan. It doesn’t seem bad, for a heartbeat or two. They have a spacious new home, wonderful neighbors, and the type of food they want delivered to their door before they even know they want it. It’s way too good to be true. In fact, it is true but not good. There are drones all over the place. Everyone knows where they are at every given point. The police are just a little too efficient.

It just so happens that the Brandeises are collaborating on another book — an exposé about The Store — and trying to do it in secret. Nothing, however, escapes the notice of The Store. Worse, Jacob and Megan’s children, who mightily resisted the move initially, appear to be falling under the spell of the town. Actually, Jacob notices that Megan seems to be getting a little wobbly herself. Jacob makes a last-ditch effort to get the story out to the real world, the one beyond The Store’s company town. But will he make it? And even if he does, will anyone care? Those are just two of the questions that are asked and answered by the end of the book.

There are no new revelations set forth here, but the novel is more of a convincing extrapolation into what might be rather than a presentation of what is. The argument has been made that the real-world model for The Store has gotten too big, and if one is inclined toward that proposition, then THE STORE provides some nightmarish scenarios that would support reining things in a bit. Regardless, it’s ultimately a fun, genre-straddling book with a number of Patterson’s trademark twists and turns, a good companion for the up-coming long days of summer. It remains to be seen, though, if you’ll be able to buy it from certain online merchants… LOL!

It’s a quick read/listen and I recommend it if you like irony.

 

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The Drafter (The Peri Reed Chronicles #1) by Kim Harrison

Book Description:

Published: September 1, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The Bourne Identity meets Minority Report in this first highly anticipated installment in number-one New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s sexy new romantic suspense trilogy, featuring a brilliant special task agent at the top of her field and set in a futuristic Detroit.

During a routine but dangerous Opti task, Peri Reed finds out her trusted partner has made her a corrupt agent. Her unique ability to jump back 40 seconds in time to correct a mistake leaves her vulnerable when her partner, who is responsible for replacing her memory of the event, gives her a false one. But Peri lives and dies on her intuition, and she begins to piece her twisted reality together as she flees her one-time secure situation at Opti and tries to find the truth with a sullen but talented psychologist named Silas who works for the very agency trying to bring the Opti corruption to light.

With Howard, tech and med specialist, and Taf, gun-toting daughter of the opposing grass-roots agency, Silas and Peri try to rebuild her memory of the night she killed her partner, knowing it will put her mental stability in danger. Peri remembers, and thoughts of revenge keep her alive and moving forward as she tries to put an end to Opti, working with the very faction that wants to see her dead.

Review –

In 2030, Agent Peri Reed works for Opti, a secret government organization that’s been capitalizing on abilities like hers since the 1960s. Peri is the drafter of the title, someone gifted with the rare ability to rewind time for about 30 seconds; the downside is that she not only forgets the original 30 seconds, but longer periods of time (minutes, weeks, even years). Her partner and lover, Jack, acts as her anchor, working to tie her to the new timeline and helping her recover lost memories. But when the two of them uncover a list of corrupt Opti agents and Peri’s name is on it, she learns that both Jack and what she believes to be her past are suspect.

Unfortunately, the more information she uncovers about Opti and its nemesis, the alliance, the harder Opti works to erase Peri’s memories, leaving her either confused and gullible or confused and angry through much of the book. 

Fans of Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series maybe hoping for another strong woman character who kicks butt, be alas, Peri is more a victim, though she has impressive combat skills. She’s frequently distracted by the lures of sex, good food, and expensive, well-tailored clothing. She’s too focused on the adrenaline rush and privileges associated with being an elite, pampered agent to convince us that she’s capable of selflessly serving a cause. Maybe she is a corrupt agent after all, hhmmm.

Great read and really looking forward to the next installment in The  Peri Reed Chronicles.

Amanda’s Eyes( A A.J. Gregson Novel) By Kathy DiSanto

Book Description

Publication Date:July 20, 2012
Waking up is the pits when you come to in a hospital with a broken arm, a colorful assortment of abrasions and contusions, and a face swathed in bandages. It’s even worse if you can’t remember what hit you.
The bad and the ugly are crime reporter Amanda “A.J.” Gregson’s business. But learning she had a ringside seat for an explosion that killed two agents of the Continental Intelligence and Investigative Service (CIIS), incinerated an entire block of warehouses, and did so much damage to her eyes they had to be surgically removed? Well, that gives the darker side of life a whole new meaning.
Haunted by elusive nightmares, A.J. waits for her transplant and struggles to remember the events leading up to the fateful night of September 4, 2075. Weeks crawl by without a glimmer, before memory floods back the night before surgery, every brutal detail crystal clear.
The explosion had been the work of the Ferrymen.
“The Ferrymen. My not-so-magnificent obsession for more than a year. Only a cataclysm could have made me forget. I guess you could call them hitmen. You could also call Einstein a math whiz. Think ruthless. Think unstoppable. Think killers so proficient ‘caught the ferry’ was fast replacing ‘bought the farm’ in common usage, and you have the Ferrymen in a nutshell.”
The transplant surgery goes off without a hitch—welcome news, because A.J. is raring for a rematch with Hell’s Boatmen. But contrary to popular belief, what you see isn’t always what you get. Take her new eyes, for example. Those baby blues may look perfectly normal, but they possess a power that turns her world upside down—the power to see into the hidden dimensions of the human heart.
When the Sight unmasks the mastermind behind the Ferrymen, the unveiling is as stunning as it is unbelievable. The revelation sets her on course for a second head-collision with evil. Will she survive the final encounter
Review –
Great story that takes place in 2075 and is fast paced, action packed and an excellent crime novel with sequels to come.  Can’t wait and I love the cover.

Tag-A Technothriller(The Zumar Chronicles) by Simon Royle

Product Description:

On 15 March 2110, 6.3 billion people will die at the hand of one man. A man with a twisted vision, to make humans a better, more intelligent race…
In the wake of Arbitrator Jonah Oliver’s interrogation of Jibril Muraz, a prisoner of UNPOL, his secure life disintegrates into one of lies, corruption, conspiracy and murder due to what he learns.
Jonah is thrown into a race against the clock to stop a plot designed to eliminate two-thirds of the population. The odds are stacked against him. He soon finds his past is not what he thought it was, those closest to him cannot be trusted, and what he’s learned could get him, or worse, his loved ones, killed.

 

Review –

This book was a combination of Science Fiction and Thriller and moved at a fast pace. Set in the future it shows the trend toward loss of personal privacy and it could be closer than we think.(just saying)  The characters were well developed  and interacted well and the locations were described well but I will tell you that I had a hard time with the “New Singapore” idea.  All in all, it was a successful story that kept we intrigued and glued to every page.  If you like a SciFi-Thriller you really should give this one a try.