Lock In by John Scalzi
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Series: Lock In #1
Published by Audible
Published on: August 26, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 10 hours
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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.
I listened to my first book by John Scalzi when I read an Audible freebie, The Dispatcher. I have seen a few reviews for Lock In when it was first released, so when I saw it as part of a Two for One deal, I quickly grabbed this story up. I’m really glad that I did.
Like The Dispatcher, this is more of a cop drama with science fiction elements to it, than straight up sci-fi. In this world, people are suffering from Haden’s syndrome. It is the result of a severe flu like disease that spread around the world and left people in a state of “lock in”. This is where the mind is fully functional, but the body and mind can’t speak to each other. The body functions, breathes, digests, etc., just fine, but the mind can’t make the body talk, walk, move. So people created “threeps”. They are robot bodies that their minds can control. They’re named after C3PO.
So in this story, we follow FBI agents Chris Shane, who has Haden’s and a rookie, and Leslie Vann, who isn’t a Haden and a veteran agent. They are assigned cases primarily to do with Haden’s victims or any crime related to Haden’s. They go to a scene where an integrator (a person with a neural network in their head to allow Haden’s victims to control a human body for a time) appears to have killed someone. Question is, was it someone using the integrator’s body who killed someone or the integrator himself?
There is a lot that Agents Shane and Vann figure out throughout the search for this killer. This goes way deeper than they ever could’ve imagined. I had a really good time following this pair as they tracked down the killer. This story had everything I could’ve wanted. There is a great police procedural story, wonderful characters, a great mix of science fiction, all in just the right mix to make for a very intriguing story. I’ve very excited to see that there is another book in the waiting with Shane and Vann. If you’re looking for thriller with science fiction and/or police procedural aspects to the story, this is a great one for you.
I will also add, that this audiobook also included the prequel novella that goes into how Haden’s syndrome came to be. It is written kinda like a documentary, as in there are many points of view including actual patients, nurses, scientists at the CDC and more. While, I didn’t enjoy this as much as the full story, it was a nice addition to learn more about this disease. It is also narrated by a full cast and not Wil Wheaton.
I’ve seen Wil Wheaton listed as the narrator for a few stories, but this my first time listening to him. I really liked his take on the male characters, I just didn’t like his female voices. It was almost like he didn’t even try to make them feminine (which I would rather have than an overly high pitched and shrill that I’ve heard some male narrators do). It wasn’t horrible, just not as good as some of the other male narrations that I’ve listened to. He did a really great job with the male voices and all the other parts of the narration (which was most of the story. There aren’t a ton of females in this story).