cover image Lock In

Lock In

John Scalzi. Tor, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7586-5

Hugo-winner Scalzi (Redshirts) successfully shifts away from space opera with this smart, thoughtful near-future thriller resonant with the themes of freedom, ethics, and corporate greed. The story is set some 25 years after the first appearance of Haden’s Syndrome, a virus that killed 400 million people and leaves a small percentage of its victims in “Lock In,” a state in which they are fully aware but trapped inside unresponsive bodies. Neural net technology allows Hadens to use android-like “threeps” or make arrangements with Integrators, survivors whose virus-altered brains allow them to share their bodies. When a corpse is found at the Watergate hotel and the only suspect is a blood-covered Integrator who says he doesn’t remember what transpired, newly minted FBI agent Chris Shane and veteran agent Leslie Vann are called in to investigate, uncovering an intricate tangle of political and business interests. Scalzi’s characters possess tangible motivations and inhabit a thoroughly believable world, and the growing partnership between Shane and Vann is a pleasure to watch unfold. This powerful novel will intrigue and entertain both fans and newcomers. [em](Aug.) [/em]