You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”
Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.
From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, “Which of these people should we save?…And who should we kill first?”
Thanks to Audible for a listening copy of The Passengers for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.
The Passengers is yet another taut thriller with break-neck pacing from the mind of John Marrs. I think I am starting to figure out this author (not really) but I do know that every time I flip open a new novel of his, I can expect originality, a fantastic array of characters, and a premise few can pull off. Here is a master of his craft.
Sit back and think for a second: how many authors can you count on two (2) hands where each consecutive release of theirs is as good, if not better, than the last? Oh wait, you only need one (1)? Pretty difficult, eh?
Well, add John Marrs to your hand-list, be it your ring finger or pinky. Come to think of it, who in the world would you put on your middle finger? That’s a conversation for a different time.
So, The Passengers. Eight (8) people trapped in self-driving cars are at the bidding of some lovely hackers and, you know, the entire world via social media. Their lives are broadcasted for all to see and none are who they portray themselves to be. But how can you seriously balance the scales when it comes to choosing who gets to live, no matter their transgressions? The line “The Greater Good” from Hot Fuzz comes to mind, and that is sort of/not really what plays out here.
What I really enjoyed about The Passengers is really the same thing I enjoyed about The One, another fantastic thriller by the same author: the characters. As genuine as they may all seem, in the end, they are all flawed in one way or another, and those flaws tend to break them down in more ways than one. Marrs makes it so easy to feel for his characters, you know, until they ultimately end up being some of the most vile people on the face of the earth. That is what truly makes his novels so easy to get hooked on.
You know, that and trying to figure out just what the heck is going on and exactly what the friggin end game is.
All in all, if you want a fast-paced, futuristic thriller with emotionally charged characters, look no further. And if you enjoy this one, I highly recommend checking out the rest of Marrs’s catalog.