Proximity (iMe #1) by Jem Tugwell
Publication Date : June 6th 2019
Publisher : Serpentine Books
Genre : Science-Fictions / Thriller / Dystopia
Pages : 352
Stars : ★★★★★
iMe NOTICE – TO ALL NEW ADULTS
Your compulsory iMe implant will be performed by your fourteenth birthday when you become an adult.
Your iMe will track and save your location to keep you safe and remove crime.
It’s integrated health monitoring diagnoses issues early to provide you with the best possible care.
Combined with iMe’s tailored diet and fitness programs – you are always at your best.
Your consumption is optimal, your waste is negligible – better for you, better for the environment.
iMe – enabling a better you.
In the world of iMe, you can’t get away with anything. Least of all murder.
DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime.
Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable.
With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…
*** Note : Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. ***
Proximity, first book in iMe series, was thrilling dystopia, science-fiction thriller that revolved around iMe technology and detective inspector and his partner trying to solve missing person case. It was about power, technology control vs liberty, freedom vs safety and security, and impact of technology on life and world.
Writing was compelling that hooked me from the beginning. It was fast paced that instantly put me on those empty desks of PCU (proximity control unit) office along with DI Clive Lussac and his young partner Zoe Jordan with their age gap and world that relied on iMe technology. Proximity was first person narrative from Clive, Zoe and Thief’s POV. Thief’s perspective was most interesting and chilling. They should be titled psycho than Thief but I guess psycho kidnapped people so maybe we can go along with it.
I wouldn’t say much about plot or how it started as that synopsis did great job with it. I was curious how Clive and Zoe were going to solve the case as they needed to change methods and not everything from old world was working. Thief was not leaving any evidence behind and soon one missing person turned to two, later a murder case and it was obvious Thief was not going to stop there unless they both do something real fast.
Side characters, suspects and villain were amazing. I enjoyed reading what they thought about technology, how they were related to victims, and why Thief picked particular victims. They added bits of information about world along with their story. Both Clive and Zoe were my favorite characters.
Clive was old school, grumpy inspector who regretted bringing iMe in police department that caused job loss of many of his colleague. He hated this new technology that couldn’t give him his comfort food and drinks. No policing was needed with iMe as it could monitor everything and so criminal that made zero crime world possible which meant his job was now boring, no use of brain, no thrill of chasing criminals, no solving cases. His wife left him because of his lack of change with technology and grumpy, depressing nature.
Zoe was young, iMe generation, who loved conveniences of technology with safety, security, and healthy life. She couldn’t understand why Clive hated iME or why he wouldn’t live healthy and why less work, stress and more relaxing time with nobody dying or no crime was problem for him. She didn’t like him or working with his grumpy, moody nature until the case.
I loved this duo. They both had contrasting nature and opinion yet when case required them to work together without relying on technology, they both came over their differences and started caring for each other like partners of old days. Zoe was smart and fast. She learned to interview and interrogate suspects, how to find clues when there was no physical evidence. As she worked with Clive, she started enjoying the thrill of finding culprit, her faith in iMe and technology shattered and understood why Clive kept complaining about it. I enjoyed the way Clive’s mind worked and got out of tricky situation.
Setting of near future UK with compulsory iMe chip in body allowed government to monitor everything you do including your health with food and drink intake. Drones for all work, no phone required, machines and home securities, even fridge, restaurants and bars were synched with technology that delivered food and drink as per your health statistics and allowances… iMe signals, how it worked and its data…. it all made the world both fascinating and intimidating. I loved the way pros and cons of iMe was described here through characters’ situation. How this world too had corruption, those who had money and power could get away or find a way to cheat iME.
I loved the convenience iMe provided but when it comes to food and system- both safety, policing, and health, I agreed with Clive. I wouldn’t give up my freedom for health and security. It was too controlling and suffocating. I laughed and also felt relatable with that man attacking fridge with axe situation (I could picture myself in his place doing the same thing). The most epic one which made me laugh- car speed. Clive and Zoe were reaching at location to catch culprit, guess what their car speed was… 20 mph. 😳 They had to apply for chase mode and it took 5-10 minute to run authorization and that too wasn’t helpful much. 😂
Twist and turns were amazing. I couldn’t guess who the next victim was or who was Thief until climax which was at 85% of the book. Climax was tense and nail-biting. I couldn’t tell how they were going to stop Thief from playing last game or if it will be too late to save victims until last chapter. End was perfect.
Overall, Proximity was clever, thought-provoking and riveting techno thriller with brilliant world building. I highly recommend this to fans of dystopia and sci-fi books.
What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite techno thriller?
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