Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted–for a price.
Our narrator is the most talented salesman at Dare to Know, a prestigious and enigmatic company in the death-prediction business. While he has mastered the art of death, the rest of his life is an abject failure. Divorced, estranged from his sons, and broke, he’s driven to violate the cardinal rule of his business by forecasting his own death day. The problem: apparently he died 23 minutes ago.
The only person who can confirm his prediction is Julia, the woman he loved and lost during his rise up the ranks of Dare to Know. As he travels across the country to see her, our narrator is forced to confront his past, the choices he’s made, and the terrifying truth about the company he works for–and his role there.
Highly ambitious and totally immersive, this adrenaline-fueled thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its stunning conclusion.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my god. I thought this book was crazy, and then I hit the last 60 pages. I’d been reading it on my lunch break and had to put it down just as the true insanity hit. It was the longest afternoon of my life, I was so desperate to get back to this book!
James Kennedy has crafted a premise and a novel that starts in one place, and ends up somewhere completely and utterly different. It only takes 300 pages but it works perfectly and at no point does it feel rushed, or like anything is missing. We follow our narrator in across almost his entire life. Intertwined with the present day parts are bits and pieces from his past. It ranges from Physics camp with his new best friend, days out with his ex-girlfriend and affairs while he travels. Every moment is important, every moment somehow leads into that ending. You get something entirely different to what the blurb promises, but in the best possible way.
We don’t meet a crazy huge cast of characters. Everything mainly centres around a few of the narrators friends and co-workers. Renard, a boy he meets at Physics camp while he is also a child, and who seems to influence his life a lot more than expected. Julia, his ex-girlfriend who seems to keep a hold over his life long after they break up. And the narrators co-workers, who all play a vital role in helping us understand what is going on.
The idea of knowing your death date is a scary one. Kennedy lets us see the birth of this trade, all the way to present day when anyone can now afford to find out. This book is a lot less about why people decide to find this out, and more about the theory behind it, and how it actually works. But not in a dull science way. What could be insanely difficult concepts are explained with confidence and clarity, and the important parts come up again and again.
I won’t spoil anything but those last 60 pages are truly pulse-pounding. Kennedy grabs you and just runs, his sentences become snappy, what should be leaps in logic make perfect sense and my god I loved it.
This is spec fic at its finest. If you love a story that starts weird and gets WEIRD, this is for you.