By John Marrs
Author Website: johnmarrsauthor(.)co(.)uk
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro
Everyone has secrets. They know yours…
In the 21st century information is king. But computers can be hacked, files can be broken into. So a unique government initiative has been borne. Five ordinary people have been selected to become the latest weapon in thwarting cyber terrorism. A revolutionary medical procedure has turned them into the ultimate secret keepers – the country’s most secretive information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every Government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. Only somebody has discovered who the secret keepers are. And one by one, they are being hunted down…
The prologue opens in London with government staff working away in an office hidden in plain sight. A worker has just started his shift and is monitoring the progress of a lorry’s trajectory through British roads. Out of nowhere, the lorry is hijacked. The team in charge makes a crucial decision and the lorry is destroyed before the hijackers can get a hold of its contents. Some time later, UK officials are at a meeting discussing recent hacking events and terrorism attacks to several nations. In order to protect their nation’s secrets and other data, the government has created a plan to store all the information in human brains, selecting capable minds that can take upon the challenge.
These individuals are called Minders, chosen by a certain type of synaesthesia in their brains. The first Minder is Flick. Flick rarely goes outside, she spends most of her time watching TV or reading news articles about murder victims on the internet. She shows little interest in her work or family, only focusing on what could have been if she had met the man Match Your DNA had found for her as her soul mate. After being selected for the program, Flick moves to the coast in hopes that the countryside will help her mood, leaving behind a what-could-have-been. Flick is probably my favorite of the Minders. Her story develops throughout the book and really shows her character growth. I was content how her trials and tribulations wrapped up at the end.
Our second Minder is Charlie, who has somewhat of a mysterious past. He is introduced as someone isolated from his family and friends, he suffers from anxiety attacks, and is into conspiracy theories. When he is chosen, he takes upon the challenge as a way to escape his current life, embracing his new persona. While the other Minders keep a low profile, Charlie takes advantage of the money he is given, staying and eating at luxurious places. All the Minders are interesting, but when you learn what Charlie has been and is going through, the reader understands him more.
The third Minder is Sinéad. She lives an unhappy marriage, her husband is always criticizing or changing anything he sees wrong in her. When she realizes how controlling he is, she leaves without looking back. Once she turns into a Minder, Sinéad does her best to start a new life, but the constant reminder of her past prevents her from finding peace. I liked that Sinéad’s past was slowly presented to us through her new surroundings. Not to mention that some of the new people she meets turn out to be different from what she expected.
Bruno is a special case kind of Minder, who recently lost his wife in a car accident and after losing most of his savings in a legal battle, he decides to take the offer of becoming a Minder in order to provide for his autistic son. But Bruno begins to see something the program calls Echoes, and unlike the others, he uses his new found abilities to take revenge on those who destroyed his family. It was interesting to see Bruno’s development throughout the book. Unlike the others, he was more attached to his past which made it difficult for his mind to move forward and restart a new life.
The last Minder is Emilia, who wakes up in a room not being able to remember anything. After escaping the place she was in, she gets into a traffic accident waking up, this time, in a hospital where staff informs her that her husband is there to take her home. Emilia doesn’t trust her husband, especially when people she doesn’t recognize advise her that he is lying. Emilia’s character is very thrilling, she’s the Jason Bourne of the story, and it’s very interesting all the events she goes through. Her conclusion was well executed, which made the plot twist exciting. It was also interesting going back and noticing the easter eggs.
The Minders is a stand alone book within this futuristic universe John Marrs has created. The Hacking Collective and Match Your DNA don’t necessarily need to be explained in depth, it’s easy enough to understand the concepts, but I am interested in reading Marrs’ other books where these are the main themes. While this book shows how a global impact can affect a country and how far they would go to protect their information, it also makes us realize the sacrifice people go through in order to start anew. The minders were given simple instructions: leave your past behind. I definitely recommend this book.