Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.
The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE – soon to be a major Netflix series.
When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.
The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?
First of all, massive thanks to Tracy Fenton for having me on the tour and to the publisher for sending me a beautiful proof!
A few weeks ago there was a Twitter tag going around: who are your auto-buy authors? The authors whose books you buy without asking questions, without fully knowing what the new book is about, because you just have to have it. I have a few of those, to be honest. Louise Beech is on that list, Stephen King is on that list, and guess what: John Marrs is on that list too. Want to know the difference between John Marrs and Stephen King? I don’t adore all of King’s book… Yup! How do you like them apples?! So when I got the invitation for this blog tour, it was a no brainer! I signed up fast enough to end up with a neck brace and sprained fingers!
I read The One and just like that John Marrs became one of my favourite authors. After The One, I read every other novel John had written before (I haven’t read his 2018 novel Her Last Move because that’s my Emergency Marrs, to read in case of a major reading slump). Needless to say my expectations of The Passengers were of Burj Khalifa proportions. But did Mr Marrs deliver? Goodness me, YES and then some!
The Passengers is set in the future, but it’s by no means sci-fi. If you’ve read and enjoyed The One, you should feel right at home – and if you haven’t read The One, hurry up and read it so you can watch the Netflix show when it’s streaming and tut at how much better the book is! Now I’m sure John is a lovely person in real life, but let me tell you this: as an author he has a mean streak! He loves nothing more than to play with his characters, to set them up, to make them jump through hoops, to have them stumble and fall. He clearly enjoys putting them through the ringer and this time he has created “the Hacker” to do his dirty work for him.
The Hacker has hacked eight self-drive cars, rerouted them and set them on a collision course. Short chapters allow us to meet the Passengers one by one. There’s also a jury, a group of people convened to judge a number of fatal accidents involving self-drive cars, to try and determine who was at fault, the car or the person(s) it had hit. This jury is suddenly faced with a very different and far more troubling task: to decide which of the Passengers will be saved and which will be killed. To reach this decision, each jury member has a short talk with their “favourite” and the general public also decides by means of social media. Before long, the Hacker makes it crystal clear that he’s not messing around, and that he knows more than he humanly can, about the passengers, but also about the members of the jury.
The jury, the public and the reader alike, take the Passengers at face value, although, being familiar with John Marrs’ books, this particular reader had an inkling there had to be a catch. And oh boy was there ever! Things, and more importantly, people are not what they seem in this clever thriller. Every time I thought I had figured out a situation, every time I was convinced I had a character pegged, the story took a U-turn at breakneck speed and I caught myself murmuring WTF?!, staring at the book in bewilderment, resisting the urge to shake it in hopes of making an explanation fall out from between the pages.
From start to finish an enthralling thriller full of nods and winks and nudges to the media and social media, and the role they play when something major happens, with a wink to one of my favourite authors and to a certain book blogger / blog tour organiser, I loved it!
ICYMI: check out my Music Monday post in honour of this novel!
Check out the other stops on the tour and find out if everyone is as enthusiastic about The Passengers as I am! (I don’t doubt it for a minute!)