by John Scalzi
Series: Lock In #1
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Length: 10 hrs
Genres: Science Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups
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.
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 Wil 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.
Tyler H Jolley
I’ve had this on my TBR list, but now that I know Will Wheaton narrates it I might have to listen to it instead! Excellent Review, Kimba!
Wheaton did an excellent job 🙂
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!
I am so happy I tried this and will be reading more from him 🙂
This sounds pretty freaky! I do like these kinds of books sometimes, even though they freak (and stress) me out I tend to enjoy them. So glad to hear this is good!
I loved this Candace!
Oh my goodness what a great review. This sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing. I had not heard of this till now. Definitely going on my ever growing TBR list 🙂
I really hope you try it 🙂
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!
No I haven’t but I will check it out. Wheaton was fabulous, and I loved the crime thriller in this.
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 🙂
Thanks Tanja..I loved this on audio 🙂
Will Wheaton is an amazing narrator! I heard him on Ready, Player One and I knew I’d be happy to listen to anything he narrated. And I was expecting the sci-fi angle from the cover but not the crime angle. Sounds different, I’m interested.
I loved his narration Trish 🙂
Indeed, I loved that this wasn’t really about that..but a crime novel.
A scary premise…thanks for the post.
Melissa (Books and Things)
I like his writing and have been wanting to try it on audio because of Wheaton. I’m glad it holds up to the hype and I have no doubt I would enjoy that novella as well!
Wheaton really did a great job with Chris Shane, he even nailed his unintended humor.
Oh wow! This sounds truly epic. I haven’t heard of this before, but I should check it out further.
Glad you loved it so much, Kim!
I hope you do Nick, this was so good 🙂
OMG Yes I’ve been totally enraptured by a book but not often and when it happens oh wow. MY God what a premise for this its like the anti-post apocalyptic novel. Great Review and I have to have it 🙂 xo
If you like crime thrillers I have no doubt you will love it. The concept and future world setting were icing on the cake 🙂
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?
*scribbles down recommendations for future reference* Thanks Rita!
I really enjoyed Redshirts so I’m happy to hear this is an absorbing read as well
This was my first read by him, but I will look up Redshirts.
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.
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
It took me awhile to figure out what was going on and despite the fact that I don’t like mysteries – I really enjoyed Lock In. It was a lot of fun and I loved the (non sexual) chemistry between Chris and Leslie.
I am glad you ended up really enjoying it Karen 🙂
I love books like this Kim and it says a lot that the narrator was able to lure you in so completely as well!
Agreed. This was fantastic
I just read that this has been optioned for a TV series — sounds like it would make for both a great read and an interesting show! Might have to check this one out. Great review, as always!
Oh yeah this would make a cool series or movie.
Oh I’m so curious about this one, all the reviews are awesome. At first it’s not something I would have read but now I can’t wait to try it.
I really enjoyed it Melliane 🙂
No my kind of genre, but I do love that feeling of falling into a book right away.
yep, I love that type of book high
I was too bored to read the pre novella, hm, should have listened to it 😉