What an awesome read!
Self-driving cars have recently become the norm in England. Their government has pledged that soon all of England’s roads will be a completely autonomous network and that all manual vehicles will be banned within the next ten years.
The first character/passenger we meet is twenty-six year old, Claire Arden. Claire was fascinated when her car delivered itself to her house a few weeks ago. However, the fact that it has no steering wheel or pedals and can’t be overridden makes her nervous. Claire is on route to her first destination of the day when her car suddenly turns right instead of left and the car’s console goes blank. At the next traffic light she tries to open the door, but it’s locked. Claire is terrified. When a voice says good morning Claire asks what’s going on. “The only thing you need to know at this point is that in two hours and thirty minutes from now, it is highly likely that you will be dead.”
Jude Harrison resents self-driving cars but knows there are benefits to having them. He’s composing an email when he hears, “Good morning, Jude”. The voice says he should enjoy the morning as it will likely be his last. “In approximately two and a half hours’ time, you are going to die.”
78-year-old actress, Sophia Bradbury hasn’t been getting many job offers lately. She thinks about some of the decisions she has made to protect her career over the years. Today she isn’t feeling well. Her arthritis is bothering her and her hearing aids are acting up. Unfortunately, her day is about to get so much worse…“Good Morning, Sophia”
We meet more passengers. Their routes are also recalculated, the windows turn to privacy settings, and the voice tells them that in just over two hours they will likely be dead.
Libby Dixon is NOT a passenger. Libby hates driverless cars. She knows the damage they are capable of. She walks wherever she can. If she does have to take a taxi, she makes sure it’s one with a driver. She won’t take the bus anymore since they replaced the drivers with computers. Today is Libby’s second day of a very different kind of jury duty. Libby was not happy to be selected and hates that she has to take part. Suddenly, the meeting is interrupted. They are told to turn on the news. They see that passengers traveling from different parts of the country have all been told that they may be dead by morning.
Who are these people—these passengers? Is this a case of wrong place wrong time or have these passengers been specially chosen?
Who could be doing this? What does it have to do with Libby and the others?
Suddenly they hear a voice. The voice tells them the plan…
and it is TERRIFYING!
This was a satisfyingly twisted tale that I burned through in just a couple of sittings. I was HOOKED. Of course, this is a book of fiction so not everything is going to be completely believable. But that really didn’t bother me. I was happy to be along for the ride.
I thought the story was well-paced and filled with fascinating characters. Told from multiple points of view, we learn about the characters/Passengers and their individual stories. There are also news reports, online polls, tweets, and other social media interspersed throughout the novel which added to the story.
One of the most engrossing and thought-provoking novels I’ve read lately! I honestly can’t stop thinking about it.
I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.