Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Why I read: Near-future technological thriller staring a female “Dexter”. I was intrigued by the “brain-mapping” ideas and cyberpunk themes.
Book blurb: “She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons.
Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.
Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.
To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever. “
The book is a stand-alone novel set in the same world as False Hearts. (I haven’t read False Hearts so I don’t know if there are any spoilers for that book within this one).
In a dark and malevolent futuristic world, a drug-addicted ex-neuroscientist Carina satisfies her urges to kill within drug-fueled dreams. Within her mind sections of data are planted which she can only unlock by recalling her early memories. So she bands together with a group of hackers in order to take down an evil corporation. The writing is fluid and vivid, often darkly violent and brilliantly portrays a frightening high technology near-future. I loved the blend of crime, psychology, sci-fi and futurism. The world-building and technology are awesome.
Carina was an interesting character, she had a hard edge with violent compulsions she struggles to control but also a softer more likeable human side. She fights against her addictions and her past so she can expose Sudice Inc. These many facets to her personality made her a believable “bad girl”. Its certainly a book for people who enjoy complex female leads. Dax (her love interest) is a trans-male hacker and another fascinating well -written character. I enjoyed how their story played out.
The narrative jumped around between different people, past and present to unfold the complicated story. I had to pay attention to the heading at the start of each chapter to ensure I knew whose perspective it was written from and where on the timeline it was occurring. So it took a bit longer for me to read. But don’t let you put this off. Its well worth the attention.
Recommended if you enjoy: strong female characters, technological sci-fi, futuristic crime fiction, cyber-punk elements.
I received an ARC from Netgallery in return for my honest review.
My little Jackshund dog decided I needed a reading break in the middle of this book: