Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman

Every once in a while I like to venture outside of my preferred genres, and The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman caught my eye. The author paints a vivid picture exploring how technology may very well impact our lives in the not-so-distant future. The world that she envisions means that every movement a person makes is recorded in some way. AIs and self-driving cars are the norm, but police are still required to provide the human element in fighting crime.

Yet some people – especially religious communities – have moved away from the city to enjoy more simpler lives, without all the surveillance. But when a murder is committed in Bountiful, a strict Christian community, the case presents detectives Salvi and Mitch with more than their fair share of obstacles.

Suspects abound within Bountiful, but things are further complicated by the nearby Solme complex, where dangerous offenders are treated using cutting-edge technology that renders them, as the word suggests: Serene. We follow Salvi's point of view as she unravels the clues that make her doubt even the people closest to her. Hard ethical questions are asked, with no easy answers provided.

The story has a slow build, with short scenes that speed up towards a tense conclusion, and I must commend Bridgeman for her stunning misdirection in terms of me figuring out who the killer was. I'm not a huge fan of crime fiction, but I really enjoyed the ride nonetheless. Salvi herself is a difficult character to get into at first, but as Bridgeman gradually reveals Salvi's past, her fanatical dedication to her police work makes all the more sense. There were times when I felt that Salvi herself was emotionally distant, but that could also just be part of her characterisation in that she keeps herself apart from the people and circumstances around her until she can no longer avoid dealing with the issues that challenge her.

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