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Review: The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman

September 5, 2021

About the Book:

Two troubled homicide detectives race to find a serial killer in a town filled with surgically reformed murderers, in this captivating near-future SF thriller.

In a small religious community rocked by a spree of shocking murders, Detectives Salvi Brentt and Mitch Grenville find themselves surrounded by suspects. The Children of Christ have a tight grip on their people, and the Solme Complex neurally edit violent criminals – Subjugates – into placid servants called Serenes. In a town where purity and sin, temptation and repression live side by side, everyone has a motive. But as the bodies mount up, the frustrated detectives begin to crack under the pressure: their demons come to light, and who knows where the blurred line between man and monster truly lies.

My Thoughts:

This was my kind of science fiction. Detailed, full of mystery, packed with futuristic technology and a murder mystery to boot.

I love a great crime story and this one has all the classics you love from a crime story / detective drama combined with the creepy and morally dubious technological advances of science and the evil people who take advantage of such technology “for the greater good.”

This is one of those stories where you believe it is very possible this is where technology is headed. A future is implants and the full connectivity of a world monitored by a network of drones providing full surveillance of cities, immersive cameras and neural implants connected direct to the internet along with helpful AI probability programming. A world where Virtual Reality leads to the inevitable sin-filled moral quagmire – and a story where religious zealotry leads to a drive to escape technology and the creation of a town called Bountiful.

Bountiful has been rocked by a brutal murder. Detectives Salvi and Mitch are sent to investigate and bring the killer to justice but their investigation is hampered by the towns technology phobia. No drones, no cameras, no interconnectivity of any kind. And the townsfolk do not want Salvi and Mitch there. This lack of trust extends to the leader of The Children of Christ and the Owner of the mysterious Solme Complex… a prison whose very existence is to redeem the psychopathic rapists and murderers housed inside via the use of a new technology involving experimentation on the brain. Then there are the Subjugates and the Serene.

Suspects abound.

Bountiful is full of secrets.

Mitch and Salvi have secrets too.

The threat of exposure haunts everyone in this futuristic thriller. The only question is whose secrets will destroy who?

Amanda Bridgeman poses many questions. What is more dangerous to morality, the mind manipulation of religious zealots or implanted technology? Who has the right to torture in the name of healing? Is it morally acceptable to torture those who are evil? What creates evil, the mind or the upbringing, and are you still the same person if your mind can be programmed? Are you really committing sin if you do it in VR? What is love? What is goodness? What is loss?

A fabulous and gripping read that is beautifully written and highlights the possibilities and probabilities of where technology is headed.

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