… Haden’s syndrome, which prevents sufferers from making any voluntary movements, while leaving them fully conscious? This horrific condition is one of the key elements in John Scalzi’s Lock in. However, this is far from a horror novel. Technological advances designed to help people with Haden’s have given them access to a virtual reality called the Agora and to mechanical bodies called “threeps” that let them interact with the physical world. There are even a few people, “Integrators,” with the ability to let Hadens share their bodies when they need a more personal approach.
Lock in has horror aspects and plenty of science fiction, but at its heart, this is a mystery novel. A man is found dead in a Washington, DC, hotel room with a live Integrator who doesn’t remember what happened. New FBI agent Chris Shane (a Haden working through a threep) is assigned the case with Leslie Vann, an experienced agent and former Integrator. Their job is made more difficult because a new bill slashing federal funding to benefit Hadens is about to go into effect, and hundreds of people are flooding into the city to protest against it. More murders involving Hadens and Integrators follow, and Shane and Vann will need to work fast to find the people responsible before they end up on the list of victims.
John Scalzi is an excellent writer, adeptly blending humor, adventure, and suspense. Give this book a try!
Reviewed by Fran (staff)