Lock In by John Scalzi

September 18th, 2014 kimbacaffeinate Review 40 Comments

18th Sep
Lock In by John Scalzi
Lock In
by John Scalzi
Series: Lock In #1
Published by: Audible
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 10 hrs
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Audible
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Narration Rating: 5
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi. Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge. A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as "Haden’s syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated. But "complicated" doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

mystery scifi SUSPENSE well written

Do you ever start reading or listening to a book and almost immediately slip into the world and realize you are about to take an epic journey? That was my experience with the audio version of Lock In, the first book in the Lock In series by John Scalzi and narrated by Wil Wheaton. Lock In is a brilliantly told mystery crime thriller set in a futuristic science fiction world. The geek in me was completely giddy! The world was fascinating, frighteningly realistic and friggin cool my friends.

In the not so far off future, the world is struck with a virus. Yeah, yeah I know you are rolling your eyes saying, “Been there, done that.” Hang on..because this isn’t about the virus, and folks there are no zombies. Well, at least not of the flesh-eating variety. Most folks who developed the virus suffered flu-like symptoms, and many died. For one percent of the population, nearly five million people in the US alone the virus caused “Lock In.” Lock In is a frightening side effect of the virus and appears to be permanent. The victim is fully aware but unable to respond to any stimulus. Imagine being conscious but unable to open your eyes, talk, eat. That is a large chunk of people locked in and no social or ethnic class was immune. It affected young and old.

Lock In begins its story almost a quarter of a century after the virus, that is now known as Hayden’s Syndrome, changed the world. We meet rookie FBI agent Chris Shane on the first day of his job. He is partnered with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two are assigned to a murder that took place at the Watergate Hotel. Science fiction geeks will love the technology, jobs, and abilities of this future world. For the non-geeks, prepare to get your Geek on! Scalzi describes this world, the technology and the changes brilliantly in layman terms without making your brain melt. The tale that unfolds is a murder mystery and has an old school meets technology vibe. Lock In isn’t a procedural crime novel, it’s a whodunit novel, and Chris Shane, sleuth extraordinaire is our future Sherlock Holmes.

Lock In combined two genres that rock for me; science fiction and crime thrillers. This was genre blending nirvana for me as the reader/listener. It reads like Mira Grant’s zombie novels; smooth, easy to slip into and yet has the complexities of the brilliant world in the Others series by Anne Bishop. Yes, peeps I invoked the names of two of my favorite authors, and Scalzi is worthy to sit among them. The world building is spectacular and the murder mystery is complex It was well thought out with twists and turns that kept me guessing.

The audio version of Lock In is available with your choice of narrator Will Wheaton or Amber Benson. Wheaton did an excellent job of presenting to us the character of Chris Shane. I felt his mannerisms, tones, and quirks. He created Chris just as I imagined him. Chris Shane is cool, sometimes funny; even though that is not his intent. He is brilliant, a natural sleuth and often is very literal. I cannot wait to go on more cases with him and his snarky, somewhat broken partner.

Audible’s audio edition of Lock In contains the bonus novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome, written by John Scalzi and narrated by a full cast. I found the history of what occurred after the virus hit fascinating, and enjoyed listening to this bonus.

Lock In was brilliant and will undoubtedly make my top ten listens/reads for 2014.

About John Scalzi

John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent. Author of the Human Division series and Old Man’s War series. Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. Writer for the video game Midnight Star, by Industrial Toys. Former president (7/10 – 6/13) of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Executive Producer and Consultant for the upcoming television series based on my book Redshirts, as well as for the upcoming television series based on my Old Man’s War book series

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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40 Responses to “Lock In by John Scalzi”

  1. Katherine

    This sounds like a fun if terrifying read. The whole concept of the virus is enough to give me nightmares! I like that it’s got a crime solving element in it. That’ll hook me where the scifi part might not have.
    Katherine recently posted…Dangerous Denial – ReviewMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      What I thought was clever was that this takes place after we have adapted to the virus, how technology changed and that at it’s heart this was a crime novel/mystery

  2. Rita

    I absolutely would like to read this! Thanks for introducing me to it and I will put it on my shortlist to buy.

    I’ve read the first 2 books in the Marcus Sakey Brilliance series, in the same vein of sci-fi/fantasy genre– maybe you would like those too?
    Rita recently posted…The Lemon Orchard ReviewMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      If you like crime thrillers I have no doubt you will love it. The concept and future world setting were icing on the cake 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Wheaton really did a great job with Chris Shane, he even nailed his unintended humor.

  3. Tanja

    I haven’t heard of this story but I do love the sound of it. Usually with audiobook I have problem with narrators, but seems to me that here it’s done brilliantly. I love when a books grabs you and this one did just that. Great review, Kim 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: ReBorn by Ada AdamsMy Profile

  4. Cyn

    Glad to hear this was a winner for you! I tempted to read for Wil Wheaton and the fact that it’s about the “locked in” syndrome! Have you’ve read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who had it)? I’ve been wanting to read that one for a while. Anyway, thanks for the review!
    Cyn recently posted…Life Of A Blogger: LanguagesMy Profile

    • kimbacaffeinate

      No I haven’t but I will check it out. Wheaton was fabulous, and I loved the crime thriller in this.

  5. Jan

    This is one of the books I’ve been wanting to get. Scalzi is one of my favorite new-to-me authors. I think I’ve read three books by him this year. I wasn’t sure whether to read or listen, but I think you’ve convinced me to listen, Kimba! Great review!
    Jan recently posted…Sunday Post: Sep 21My Profile

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