The Real Town Murders
Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.
Alma's partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.
So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.
Reviewed on 29th July 2019
An unusual book - the first of Roberts’ that I’ve read - set in a future where most people live virtual lives, and only a few bother to inhabit the real world.
It’s a plausible imagining of a bureaucratic future, where the main character is first invited to investigate a suspicious death by one government department, before another asks her to stop.
While it wasn’t bad, I didn’t fall in love with it. There were hints of Jasper Fforde (who I absolutely adore) but the narrative didn’t capture my attention in the same way, and I didn’t find myself coming to care for and invest emotionally in the characters.