I read this book as part of a blog tour, having been sold on it by the ‘dystopian sci-fi’ tag it had been given.
We are immediately introduced to the premise of the eponymous game, which I found was like a car crash that you can’t help looking at – even though you don’t really want to and know that you shouldn’t. As an avid gamer and confessed SF geek, I found it utterly compelling and was hooked from the start.
The author does say that this is ‘a dark, disturbing thriller’, and he wasn’t lying. If you are easily offended – or even if you are not – this might be a difficult read. However, the specifics of psychopathic behaviour are not particularly dwelt upon, these instances serving instead as extremely unpleasant electric shocks, amongst the general unease and lowering threat that most of the novel conveys.
The writing is almost suffocatingly taut and the characters are fully-fleshed – some of them scarily well. There are some lovely dashes of technology and jargon that are sufficiently advanced as to be strange, yet close enough to what we know as to be totally credible. The structure of the chapters – storylines featuring sometimes psychotic characters, interspersed with the almost emotionless ‘reportage’ of the game development ideas – makes for some cleverly unsettling reading.
However, having said all that; despite being a gamer, I’m not a psychopath and the eponymous game is not one I would play.
But then, that’s what a real psychopath would say. Isn’t it?
A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.
PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.
It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?
I do not get paid to take part in blog tours and this is my honest review.