Stewart Hotston, Tangle's Game, Abaddon Books, 2019.
Tangle's Game is fast pace, fun, near future thriller, that tackles efficiently themes that should concern us all about data and technology.
Amanda has the perfect life. She scores high on social media and she has a highly qualified, highly paid job. Until she receives a parcel from one of her ex. And everyone wants what Tangle has sent her, from MI6 to the Russian, to say nothing of a smart fridge.
As far as techno-thriller go, Hotston doesn't add anything new to the genre with Tangle's Game. The novel follows the usual route of running, shock, running, revelation, more running, twist. Nonetheless, where Tangle's Game is significantly different is the humour and the characters.
Nothing is more subjective than humour, but the talking fridge and the very, very accurate description of driving an electric car were, to me, two of the funniest aspects of the novel. The tone varies, from deliciously sarcastic to more thoughtstul and Hotston handles these variations with a lot of elegance.
The characters are well done and endearing. Amanda is a bit of an arse in the beginning, but as she falls from grace, she becomes a much more sympathetic character. The secondary characters are very well done too, from the likeable mobsters to an elderly hacker. I always appreciate when actions have consequences, and it is the case here. Tangle's Game is not a mad rush where everything stays behind. On the contrary, the past comes back to haunt you.
Tangle's Game is also a solid satire of our very near future, in which our social media credit is everything, in which there are still power plays to manipulate far right groups in Europe, and in which AI is everywhere and shouldn't we really stop and consider at some point? (A smart fridge? I mean, really? Are there really people who buy a smart fridge?)
Tangle's Game is solid entertainment. If you want something that'll offer both a thoughtful take on where we are currently heading, but with some thrills (and even a couple of heroics!) and a fast pace, then this is the novel you are looking for.
A review copy was received in exchange for a fair review.
If you've liked Tangle's Game, you may also like
All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
Comments are closed, having neither time nor the inclination to moderate them.
WHAT IS THE MIDDLE SHELF?
The middle shelf is a science-fiction and fantasy books reviewS blog, bringing you diverse and great stories .
ON THE MIDDLE SHELF
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE MIDDLE SHELF
PLEASE SUPPORT AUTHORS.
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT.