(Summary and cover from the publisher’s website)
416 pages (paperback)
When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.
The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?
9 / 10
Goddamn, this was one smart and fascinating thriller. I picked it up at the airport (“3 for 2” offers will be the death of me), not really knowing what I was getting myself into. Cue me spending the whole flight and train ride back home totally fascinated by what was happening.
I simply adore thrillers / horror books that focus on modern themes such as social media, technology going terribly wrong, etc. The Passengers has both; in a not-so-dystopic United Kingdom where fully automated vehicles have become the norm, someone manages to hack eight vehicles and sets them all towards a fatal collision. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, a jury will have to decide who will live and who will die. And this jury is formed, in part, of the public, voting on social media.
Seems far-fetched, right? Never ever would sane people like us vote on who deserves to lives and who doesn’t. Right? … Right? Yeah, no, the parts about social media are way too real, and I could definitely see something like this happening, as scary as that sounds. After all, we (or at least, most of us) like TV reality shows – why not go a step further?
I was completely hooked from the start, and, though you’d like to think you wouldn’t have an opinion on who the survivor should be, forget it, it only takes a couple of pages for you to decide on who should live. And then John Marrs makes you understand that you fell headfirst in the trap he’d so cleverly set; every time you’re sure that you’ve made up your mind, some plot twist comes up and you feel completely stupid about being so naive.
It’s truly a brilliant and very smart book, one of these books that you don’t want to put it down before the last page. It would have gotten a 10/10 rating from me were it not for the very last pages; I found them just too twisted. There was just one too many plot twist for me, which didn’t make my reading less enjoyable, far from it! I do think John Marrs is an author that will become a phenomenon in the years to follow. His stories, like Penguin Random House mentions, are very reminiscent of Black Mirror episodes, and I hope his books will be as popular as the Netflix show!
To read if…
You love very suspenseful books, and the morbid side of social media fascinates you!