In today’s review, I feature a cyberpunk thriller novel that I really enjoyed reading towards the end of last year. I was kindly provided with a copy of the book in exchange for a review; I’m glad I agreed. It is the last book I agreed to take on before I stopped accepting any review requests. It was a really fun and intriguing read and I hope you like the sound of it too: –
Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter
The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.
London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.
And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.
Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.
A chip controlled by TIM.
Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.
Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.
There is a vast array of characters within the novel to complement the narrative and bring it to life. The main character who mistrusts technology is only fitting in an investigation in which technology appears to have gone awry. Carl Dremmler is a bit of a gruff old-schooler in this brave new world. He lives his life reminiscing of how things used to be… the good old days. When it comes to technology he is very old-fashioned. However, his distrust allows him a different perspective from those who have embraced it readily. Whilst he is not the most affable of people, he is very easy to read and get on with as a reader.
The universe in which Auxiliary: London 2039 is set is completely unique; the world-building aspect of this advanced civilization appealed to me greatly. The urban setting has it’s commonalities with modern-day London, but technologies like self-driving airborne vehicles place the setting distinctly apart from what we recognise London to be.
The pace of the book is great – there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning and new clues/revelations to keep you guessing. At just over 200 pages it’s a very approachable read. I read the book over a couple of days. I read a lot, so that’s not unexpected, but I honestly believe that anyone could pick this up with ease.
The plot concept of technology turning against humans isn’t a new one, but it appeals to a wide audience for a number of reasons. Technology is a huge part of our daily lives. We depend on it, and its presence is a familiar one. Technology is also evolving rapidly and with more wearable tech becoming more commonplace, the technology in Auxiliary: London 2039 doesn’t feel like a far stretch into the future. How easily we as readers can relate to futuristic technology is the reason the book is entertaining for many. If you have read even the synopsis, never mind the book, you’ll probably agree that it is an equally exciting and frightening realisation!