Déjà Vu: A Technothriller by Ian Hocking
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Deja Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One)by Ian Hocking
I really truly loved this novel. It started out a bit slow and almost pedantic but that sometimes is the nature of these psychological thrillers. If I were to take Philip K Dick and Lewis Purnell Davies and then throw in a healthy dose of excellent writing skill I'd say we have Ian Hocking and Deja Vu all wrapped up in a neat and tidy package.
The story starts out with Saskia Brandt being pulled off her vacation for special assignment with the European FIB. Only when she makes it to the office she finds herself being framed for her secretaries murder, with the added bonus of using her detective skills to discover that what looks like a frame might be the real thing as she catches herself in an image; committing the crime.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for something that is more twisted and on psychological thin ice that's waiting for Saskia. Add to this her newest assignment of bringing in David Proctor while trying to deal with personal revelations and that alone is wild, but we add in a bit of time travel and some virtual reality.
I found his description of the virtual reality quite interesting:
If a race of intelligent beings had evolved in this universe, and developed science, their physicists would discover that matter is continuous, not discrete. Their astronomers would find that their planet is the only planet, their star the only star. They would correctly place themselves at the centre of the universe. Should they build a computing machine, it would never outrun the computer that ran their universe: and what, indeed, would they hypothesize the limiting factor to be? God?
Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Locations 535-539). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.
Ian Hocking has a richness of language that shows up often in a peculiar turn of phrase that elicits specific unique images.
The mimetic cloud of fines rendered the springy crunch of the undergrowth perfectly.
Coffee with memory.
Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Location 635). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.
At first it's difficult to know what to make of Saskia when we discover that she's a criminal convicted of some unknown crime who's memory was wiped to make room for a second memory from a donor. The first memory is suppressed and the second memory is custom arraigned so that the FIB can use her as an agent. They keep her under their thumb by suggesting that the crime is so bad that she wouldn't want those memories to ever return. They are kept in check by an imbedded bio-chip that contains the custom recollections of the donor. Her handler claims he can blow that chip away anytime she gets out of line. This causes her character to appear one dimensional and It makes it difficult to relate or feel any empathy for her.
But as it unfolds we begin to see the battle raging inside her head and as the story progresses we find that there are many more crimes here than those she thinks she needs to avoid remembering.There's a web of intrigue and lies that mixed with critical traumatic memories that give us that point we need to dig in and get a feel for the real character.
There's a second protagonist in the story, David Proctor. And I would almost swear there is a special pop reference in the text at one point. David is talking to a computer named Ego::
‘Sing me a song.’
‘Just a moment.’ There was a beep and David heard a crackle. The earpiece was picking up Ego’s attempt to access the Internet via the wireless telecommunications
‘Alright, forget it.’
Hocking, Ian (2011-03-06). Déjà Vu (The Saskia Brandt Series Book One) (Kindle Locations 1206-1207). Writer As A Stranger. Kindle Edition.
This novel should interest any fan of the Psychological Thrillers and SFF. It's sometimes a slower reading than some because you have to pay particular attention to details, but it's worth it.
Definitely looking for more from Ian Hocking.
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