cover image The Singularity Race

The Singularity Race

Mark de Castrique. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (282p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0599-6

This suspenseful thriller from de Castrique (Double Cross of Time) doesn’t follow through on the big ideas behind its clever premise. Rusty Mullins, a former Secret Service agent, is on a private assignment protecting Chinese neuroscientist Lisa Li and her seven-year-old nephew at a scientific conference in Washington, D.C. When a team of professional assassins attacks the conference, many people die, but Mullins manages to save Dr. Li. Mullins is approached by Robert Brentwood, a billionaire tech mogul who’s financing research toward the singularity, that linchpin moment when computer-programmed artificial intelligence will become self-aware. Dr. Li is the key to developing the necessary safeguards against AI self-awareness that might doom humankind, and Brentwood wants Mullins to protect her. Apollo, the AI program, however, comes across as little more than an efficient search engine. The breathless climax suggests that humanity will always remain its own greatest threat. [em](Oct.) [/em]