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Saturday, February 3, 2018

REVIEW: Punishment by Scott J. Holliday @amazonpub @hollidayauthor #thomasandmercer

(Detective Barnes #1)
by Scott J. Holliday

Thank you to Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer for this copy.
First in a new detective series, we get a glimpse at the future of crime fighting.

Publisher:  Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer
Publishing: February 1, 2018
Pages: 260
Genres:  Crime, Mystery, Science Fiction
Series: Detective Barnes #1

Goodreads Synopsis:

Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…

My Review:

What an absolutely unique look into how future crime may be solved. I couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be able to see the memories of not only the living but the dead too.  The absolute weight it must put on someone not only mentally but physically would be cumbersome and surely cause their mind to break itself... eventually.  Barnes has seen past users of this machine end up in a ward for the criminally insane.  He swears he doesn't "need" the machine and that he can bring himself back to the surface at any time.... but can he really?  The closer he gets to solving this crime, the closer he gets to losing himself in the process.  

Let's talk about this cover for a moment. I LOVE sugar skulls!  Although after this read, I may see them slightly differently.  My favorite colors, with my favorite skull and I can see this absolutely being a cover buy.  Add this to such a unique storyline and well, who wouldn't be sold!!

Here's some things that just didn't quite work for me.  Throughout the book, we see Barnes "hearing" different voices and these are italicized ... but at the beginning it's not quite clear what is going on so it was a tad bit confusing to see this.  Once I realized what was going on it made more sense.  I did feel the relationship between Barnes and Jessica felt a bit forced and just thrown in there as a romantic arc and to have someone he cares about get thrown into the mix.  I think the book would've worked just fine, if not better, without this at all.  I would have liked to have seen more about the machine itself - the background of how this came about and how it became not only a means for punishment, helping to solve crimes and for entertainment for some. This absolutely fascinated me.

What absolutely did work for me was the uniqueness of it all.  We have seen some touching on this type of science fiction in movies and books in the past but this took on a bit of a different take.  I could also see this happening at some point.  Celebrities downloading their memories so the every day person can spend a day in their shoes/memories and get a break from their own reality.  **Shiver** A bit scary, but I like scary so......  

Those who like that sci-fi mixed with crime will definitely enjoy this novel.  As book one in a series, I am intrigued to see where this could potentially go and maybe I'll get the answers I'm seeking later on.  


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