Thrill Switch by Tim Hawken

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. Cyberpunk sci-fi is not a subgenre I am very familiar with but this novel peaked my interest the entire way through. Imagine a future where most people are logged into the virtual world where anything and everything goes, politicians looking to impose laws to restrict the hazards of this reality, citizens being murdered in the virtual and the real world because of it, and a low ranked detective is trying to make a name for herself needs to solve the case. Easier said than done because Ada Byron has some demons of her own that will be brought to the surface.

Set in the not too distant future in Las Vegas Nevada where anything and everything can and sometimes always does go wrong. When a founding member responsible for creating this virtual world winds up dead by an avatar being called the spider, Ada is given the case due to her background in virtual cases. As the clues begin to unwind a few things appear painfully clear to Ada: One is that the killer is murdering his victims in VR instead of the real world and these are being done the same exact way that Ada witnessed her father being murdered seven years ago. This tragic episode is the exact cause for why Ada wanted to become a detective in the first place and the person whom was responsible, Jazlin Switch, was captured and is now being held in virtual prison.

Could Jazlin have an accomplice who was never found? Is this a copycat trying to make a name for themselves? Does this have anything to do with politicians trying to implement laws to curve the crimes happening in this virtual world? Ada has no choice but to go into the VR and interview Jazlin Switch herself, but the issue is the last two officers to do this did wind up committing suicide. Ready Player One meets Law and Order in this riveting murder mystery with a cyberpunk twist.

The chapters read very fast and I had no issue finishing this book over the course of a weekend. I don’t read many thriller books but I am always in the mood for a good mystery where there are multiple factions involved and not all of the people involved are as they may appear. Although this novel relies heavily on technology the plot was written in such a way where I never felt overwhelmed and couldn’t follow the story. If a sci-fi story is beating me over the head with science and technology talk to no end I get lost and want to throw the book against the wall which was not the case here. I have no doubt that the way our global reach with technology keeps on expanding that this novel does show us the potential for what may be coming in real life. Hard questions are asked of the reader even though the book is meant to be a no-stop action murder mystery. This is just a penny for my thoughts but I think that this rings true.

In short, Thrill Switch is a novel any fan will enjoy regardless if you are a hardcore sci-fi reader or not. It was a breath of fresh air to see where the story went and Tim Hawken always kept me on my toes with every chapter. I will be picking up Tim’s other novels later this year for sure and you should too.


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