Category Archives: Sci Fi

Review: The Last Exit by Michael Kaufman

Title: The Last Exit by Michael Kaufman
Jen Lu Mystery Series Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Futuristic, Sci-Fi, Mystery
Length: 298 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Perfect for fans of Ben Winters and Cory Doctorow. In this thrilling near-future novel, the secret to eternal life is closely guarded by people who will do anything to protect it–even if it means destroying everything in their path.

Set in Washington D.C. in the near future, climate change has hit hard, fires are burning, unemployment is high, and controversial longevity treatments are only available to the very rich. Enter resourceful young police detective, Jen B. Lu, and her ‘partner’, Chandler, a SIM implant in her brain and her instant link to the Internet and police records, and constant voice inside her head. He’s an inquisitive tough guy, with a helluva sense of humor and his own ideas about solving crimes.

As a detective in the Elder Abuse unit, Jen is supposed to be investigating kids pushing their aging parents to “exit” so they are eligible to get the longevity drug. But what really has her attention are the persistent rumors about Eden, an illegal version of the longevity drug, and the bizarre outbreak of people aging almost overnight, then suddenly dying–is this all connected? Is Big Pharma involved?

When Jen’s investigations of Eden take her too close to the truth, she is suspended, Chandler is deactivated, and her boyfriend is freaked out by “the thing inside her brain.” This leaves Jen to pursue a very dangerous investigation all by herself.


The Last Exit by Michael Kaufman is an imaginative sci-fi mystery set in the future.

With an AI brain implant named Chandler, Jen Lu is a detective with the DC Metro’s Elder Abuse Unit.  Elder abuse has become a serious issue because parents must “exit” when they turn 65 in order to let their children receive the “Timeless” treatment that will save them from a rapid onset spongiform encephalitis. If they do not exit, their children will die a horrific death. Jen has heard mention of “Eden” which appears to be a black market version of the treatment. When she mentions her suspicions to her boss Captain Kyrie Brooks, he tells her there is nothing for her to investigate.  But when people begin dying from an advanced form of the encephalitis,  Jen ignores Brooks’ order and soon stumbles into a possible conspiracy. Will Jen uncover the truth before more people die?

Jen is in her late thirties and loves her career.  With her mother nearing the age of 65, Jen is struggling a bit with the upcoming exit.  Her childhood was quite abusive but her mother’s dementia has changed her into a completely different person. Jen has been in a yearlong casual relationship with Zach whose parents have no worries about their exit. Zach, on the other hand, is against their decision even if it might cost his life. Since Jen has not opened up to him about her childhood, he does not understand how she can be so at ease with what is about to happen to her mother.  Jen and Zach are growing closer, but since she is unable to tell him about Chandler, she is uncertain about the future of their relationship.

Jen’s partner Les is also her best friend but she is keeping her Eden investigation from him. So when she is forced to go a bit rogue, she is on her own except for assistance from an unexpected group of people. She is inventive as she gains access to details that will hopefully lead her to the answers she is searching for. Cool advances in technology are also quite beneficial when she discovers she only has a short period of time to catch the people responsible for distributing the drugs that are causing the multitude of deaths from the advanced encephalitis.  When she finds herself in a very dangerous situation, is there any chance Jen will escape? And will her suspects escape before they can be brought to justice?

The Last Exit is a riveting mystery with a fantastic cast of characters and a creative storyline. The sci-fi elements are richly developed and easy to visualize.  Jen’s investigation is fascinating and moves at a brisk pace. With intriguing twists and turns, Michael Kaufman brings this clever futuristic movie to an edge of the seat conclusion.  This exciting first installment of the Jen Lu Mystery series will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Futuristic, Jen Lu Mystery Series, Michael Kaufman, Rated B, Review, Sci Fi, The Last Exit

Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

Title: The Passengers by John Marrs
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Futuristic, Technothriller, Science Fiction, Suspense
Length: 349 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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?”


The Passengers by John Marrs is a futuristic, science fiction technothriller that is absolutely mesmerizing.

Sometime in the near future, driverless cars are now mandated in Britain. The public has been reassured these cars are not only hacker proof but will save lives due to fewer accidents. Which is why Claire Arden,  Jude Harrison, Sofia Bradbury, Sam & Heidi Cole, Shabana Khartri and two random taxi passengers are terrified when their vehicles are hacked. Even more horrifying? The Hacker has reprogrammed their cars to take them to an unknown destination where, in two and a half hours, they are all going to die. Why have these particular people have been targeted? And is there any chance they will escape from this nightmare alive?

Meanwhile, five people are deciding who is at fault in driverless vehicle accidents.  Four members of the jury essentially rubberstamp all of the cases and place the blame on the victims.  But in this particular session, mental health nurse Libby Dixon is not a fan of the autonomous vehicles. She becomes a key figure in the unfolding drama when The Hacker puts the rest of his nefarious plan into motion.

With the fates of the Passengers seemingly in the hands of Libby and the jury, The Hacker adds another layer to his evil scheme. He brings in a social media maven who provides stats on how this deadly drama is playing out with people around the globe.  With the public weighing in on social media, Libby and the members of the jury are faced with the heartbreaking task of deciding which passengers will live and who will die.

The Passengers is a scintillating novel with an ingenious storyline and plenty of suspense. Each of the passengers are hiding juicy secrets that factor into whether they should live or die.  As the nail-biting two and a half hours hurtles to a nerve-wracking conclusion, which Passenger will be selected to survive? With stunning twists and clever turns, John Marrs brings this innovative thriller to an absolutely brilliant conclusion.  I eagerly devoured every riveting page of this positively chilling, tension-filled, and electrifying novel.  HIGHLY recommend!

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Futuristic, John Marrs, Rated B+, Review, Sci Fi, Suspense, Technothriller, The Passengers

Review: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

Title: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Mystery
Length: 412 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Beforecomes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .

“Dynamic, razor-sharp, and thought-provoking . . . a cutting-edge suspense novel unlike any you’ve read before.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .



The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney is a mesmerizing novel that is part science fiction,  part mystery and completely enthralling.  Confession time: I am not a sci fi fan but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this domestic mystery.

Tim Scott is a Silicon Valley billionaire whose tech company works primarily with designing robots to interact with the public in various ways. He is socially awkward, works long hours and sets impossibly high standards for his employees.  His workers are taken aback and rather surprised when he announces Abbie Cullen is going to be an artist in residence for the next several months.  Abbie is a breath of fresh air who does not hesitate to challenge Tim’s ideas and beliefs.  Despite their differences, Tim and Abbie eventually marry and have a son, Danny.  Their happiness is marred when four year old Danny is diagnosed with Heller’s syndrome and  Abbie and Tim have very differing opinions on how to best help their son.

Fast forward five years and Abbie wakes up from an accident to discover she is a technological marvel. Although parts of her life are now confusing, she is still devoted to Danny and she wants to be an active part of his life.  Abbie is still in love with Tim but she is beginning to sense that there is much more to her husband than meets the eye. Can she completely trust his version of events about what happened to her five years ago? Abbie is becoming desperate for answers but what will she do once she uncovers the truth?

Unfolding from two distinct points of view, The Perfect Wife is a very clever mystery with a completely ingenious storyline.  Abbie’s perspective is written in second person which is unique yet very effective. Other chapters flashback to the past and are narrated by anonymous employees who  provide very interesting information about Tim and Abbie.  With the suspense building as Abbie gets closer to the truth, JP Delaney  brings this brilliant novel to a breathtaking, twist-filled conclusion that is quite stunning.  An utterly fascinating read that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend!!!

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, JP Delaney, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sci Fi, The Perfect Wife

Review: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud

Title: The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Historical (50s), Mystery, Suspense, Sci-Fi/Time Travel
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


How do you hunt a killer who can go back in time and make sure you’re never born?

A police pursuit kicks Sergeant Jack Redding of the Florida Highway Patrol and his trainee, Julie Karras, into a shoot-out that ends with one girl dead and another in cuffs, and the driver of the SUV fleeing into the Intracoastal Waterway. Redding stays on the hunt, driven by the trace memory that he knows that running woman—and he does, because his grandfather, a cop in Jacksonville, was hunting the same woman in 1957.

Redding and his partner, Pandora Jansson, chase a seductive serial killer who can ride The Shimmer across decades. The pursuit cuts from modern-day Jacksonville to Mafia-ruled St. Augustine in 1957, then to the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1914. The stakes turn brutal when Jack, whose wife and child died in a crash the previous Christmas Eve, faces a terrible choice: help his grandfather catch the killer, or change time itself and try to save his wife and child.

The Shimmer is a unique time-shifting thriller that will stay with you long after its utterly unforeseen and yet perfectly diabolical ending


The Shimmer by Carsten Stroud is a very clever time travel mystery that is fast-paced and engaging.

In the present, Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Jack Redding and trainee Julia Karras are involved in a high speed chase of an SUV. After the vehicle pulls over, the driver runs off into the woods with the police hot on her heels. Inside the SUV, Jack and Julia find teenage sisters Rebecca and Karen Walker bound in the backseat. While Jack tries to locate the driver, Julia is tasked with setting the sisters free.  When the situation quickly goes south, Julia is forced to protect herself from the girls and after Jack returns to assist her, the mystery woman in the woods vanishes. Later that same evening, Jack and fellow officer Pandora Jansson uncover a stunning link between the driver of the SUV and a case his grandfather, Clete Redding, worked on back in 1957. What, if any, connection could there possibly be between these two cases that take place decades apart?

Jack is unexpectedly presented with the opportunity to find out how the cases intersect when he travels back in time to 1957.  He arrives at a pivotal moment in Clete’s  investigation into the mysterious woman he knows as Selena and her ties with the Vizzini crime family. Working together, Jack and Clete try to uncover the truth surrounding Selena and their investigation then takes them to New Orleans, where NOPD officer Annabelle Fontaine bears a stunning resemblance to someone from Jack’s life in the present.

The coincidences keep coming at Jack when his path crosses with yet another person who plays an instrumental role in his life in the future. Jack’s knowledge about events from the past also torment him as he and grandfather attempt to find out the truth about Selena, whom Jack is certain is murdering her way through time.  What will happen if Jack and Clete try to intervene with history?  More importantly, what if Selena attempts to manipulate events to her advantage? Is it possible to change the past without affecting the future? And will Jack and Clete figure out who Selena is and what exactly she is attempting to locating as she travels through time?

The Shimmer  is an innovative and riveting mystery that incorporates Florida’s history with the Mafia into the storyline.  The time travel element is quite fascinating and this aspect of the plot raises some very intriguing questions about the unintended consequences of altering events from the past. Carsten Stroud completely wraps up the story arc about why Selena is traveling through time and Jack exacts his revenge for her role in a tragic loss. The  novel ends with a stunning plot twist that is completely unforeseen, somewhat ambiguous and a little frustrating. Fans of the genre(s) do not want to miss this enjoyable time travel mystery.

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Filed under Carsten Stroud, Contemporary, Historical, Historical (50s), Mira, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Sci Fi, Suspense, The Shimmer, Time Travel

Review: The One by John Marrs

Title: The One by John Marrs
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Sci Fi Elements
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.


The One by John Marrs is an absolutely brilliant novel that combines elements of mystery, science fiction and romance. The premise that people can find their soul mates through DNA is quite fascinating but will this prove to be truth for the five people featured in this adroit tale?

Thirty-seven year old Mandy Griffiths’s sisters convince her to submit her DNA to Match Your DNA to find her soulmate after her now ex-husband divorces her after taking the test. Although her match, Richard Taylor, is younger than she is and they do not have many interests in common, their match is supposed to be infallible. Despite being old-fashioned enough to want Richard to make the first move, Mandy’s curiosity about her handsome match leads her to a shocking discovery.

Thirty-three year old Christopher’s Match Your DNA test pairs him up with Amy Brookbanks. While Amy is pretty much an open book, Christopher is quite secretive. Surprisingly, dating Amy is life-altering for Christopher, but what will Amy do when she uncovers the secret he has been keeping?

Jade Sewell lives in Britain but her match Kevin lives in Australia. They have gotten to know each extremely well through texts and phone calls, but Jade yearns for more. When challenged by her workmates to take a chance on love, she decides it is time to meet Kevin face to face. It is not until Jade arrives in Australia that doubts set in but she overcomes her fears and unexpectedly shows up at Kevin’s family farm where many surprises await.

Nick Wallsworth and his fiancée Sally are months away from marrying when Sally convinces him they need to take the test.  He reluctantly agrees although he is certain that the results will not change their future together if they are not DNA matched. However, Nick’s match is an absolutely stunner which could lead to life-altering changes for him and Sally.

Ellie Stanford is a workaholic who makes no time for romance or family. So when she receives a DNA Match, she is leery about meeting her match, Tim Hunt. After thoroughly vetting him, she decides to give him a chance. Although there are not immediate sparks, Ellie and Tim have enough in common that they continue dating. Their relationship is running along a predictable course when Ellie is blindsided by shocking information about Tim.

The chapters alternate between the various characters but it is quite easy to keep track of who is currently narrating. There are plenty of surprises as each person makes their decision about what to do about their perfect match.  Some of the chapters end on cliffhangers that keep the pages turning at a blistering pace to find out what is going to happen next. A few of the characters are more likable than others but it is impossible not to become invested on how their situation and/or relationship is ultimately going to play out.

The One is a clever novel that is absolutely spellbinding and quite innovative. The characters are fairly well developed and their choices and relationships are certainly interesting. While the beginning of the story is mostly light and optimistic, things begin to take a bit of a dark turn as the months go by. With plenty of unexpected twists and breathtaking turns, John Marrs brings this gripping novel to an exciting and somewhat unexpected conclusion. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this outstanding thriller.

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Filed under Contemporary, Hanover Square Press, John Marrs, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sci Fi, The One

Review: Paradox Lost by Libby Drew

paradoxTitle: Paradox Lost by Libby Drew
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Time Travel, Futuristic, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Word Count: 84,000
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


Time-travel tour guide Reegan McNamara’s job–taking eager tourists to whenever they want to go–is usually a breeze. A trip back to 2020 to watch a world-changing speech seems no different, until a woman runs away from his tour group before the jump home. Now her tycoon husband is demanding her safe return–or Reegan will lose more than just his job.

P.I. Saul Kildare’s business is running on borrowed time. Due to a messy break with the police, he can’t get a referral to save his life. When an enigmatic stranger bangs on his door one night and promises a windfall for a missing-person case, it seems too good to be true. But the two men have an immediate connection, and Saul can’t pass up the chance to spend more time with Reegan, even if he’s clearly hiding something.

Saul knows he shouldn’t trust Reegan, and Reegan knows he can’t get involved with Saul. But as their attraction evolves into feelings neither can deny, will they have the strength to take a leap of faith–together?

84,000 words

The Review:

As a general rule, I do not read sci fi or futuristic stories but I just had to make an exception for Libby Drew’s newest release. A big fan of both time travel novels and Ms. Drew, I eagerly devoured Paradox Lost. With plenty of action, a bit of mystery and an incredibly steamy romance, this futuristic adventure is sure to be a hit with readers of male/male fiction.

Reegan McNamara escorts a group of time travelers back in time a little over 100 years to 2020 for a historic presidential speech. He has a bit of history with one of his travelers, Silvia Panitierre, and something about her puts him on high alert. He keeps a close eye on her once they travel back in time yet she vanishes when he is momentarily distracted. With his job on the line and Silvia’s angry and powerful husband waiting in the wings, Reegan enlists the aid of private investigator Saul Kildare to help him track down his wayward charge.

Reegan is a fabulous character and as someone who loves history, I was jealous of his ability to journey back in time 🙂 On the surface, he seems to have an enviable life-he has a lucrative career he loves and the modern conveniences he takes for granted are simply ingenious! But Reegan’s position at Blast in the Past Time Travel Tours is precarious and leaving Silvia behind is simply not an option.

Saul is also a great character and of the two, he is the most flawed. He has been in a downward spiral since the loss of his job on the police force. He is also crippled with guilt about the circumstances surrounding a personal loss and he is struggling to maintain his sobriety. Reegan’s case is a welcome diversion for an unhappy anniversary and although skeptical, he is soon immersed in the missing persons case.

The case soon takes an ominous and perilous turn when Saul and Reegan discover that they are not the only ones hunting for Silvia. They are quickly enmeshed in pulse pounding and exciting chases as they outwit the nefarious thugs that are hot on their trail. They are also in a race against time to avoid the dangers that could befall both Reegan and Silvia due to their time travel.

In between following leads and evading foes, Saul and Reegan find time to explore their unexpected attraction. There is plenty of sexual tension between them and with little free time, their sexual encounters are brief but incredibly hot. Although their sex scenes are quick, they are highly sensual and exquisitely detailed.

I typically read historical time travel novels so it was quite fascinating to delve into the futuristic world created by Ms. Drew. The changes and inventions are realistic and easy to envision. The whole time travel concept is always intriguing and I appreciated the creativity that went into creating a believable explanation for traveling to different historical eras and places. I also liked that there could be negative consequences attributed to trips back to the past and into the future.

Paradox Lost is an all around terrific read with a marvelous cast of characters, an incredibly unique storyline and amazing creativity. I honestly had no idea how two men who live in completely different eras were going to find their happily ever after, but I should not have been concerned. The ending is absolutely perfect and all of the loose ends are neatly wrapped up. If you are not reading Libby Drew then you are missing out an unbelievably versatile and gifted author.


Filed under Carina Press, Erotic, Futuristic, Libby Drew, Paradox Lost, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Sci Fi, Time Travel