Top critical review
Why get political?
Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2020
The US is divided politically about 50/50 - why authors think they should put their own political bias into a novel always amazes me, as they know they will automatically alienate half of the potential buyers of their work.
Be it the perpetuated smears on J. Edgar Hoover, the positive comments about, now disgraced Andrew McCabe, and how he "lost his pension" (a statement that is factually incorrect - his pension is in fact guaranteed by the Federal Employees Retirement System, although by being fired he lost the ability to "early retire at age 50" and "top off" his already generous government pension - he did not "lose his pension" - as stated in the book, and footnoted to an article in Politico.), or that the Muller investigation "had damned good reasons". As more and more comes out about the actual role of the FBI during the "pre" and "post" Trump election periods, such comments will "date" the novel to a period where such comments often went unchallenged.
The authors have a pretty good basis for a novel, set in the future, with fictional characters, so why they bring in their own personal opinions about current political issues is beyond me.
As I said, they do have a pretty good setting for this novel and have done extensive research on AI and the extent that technology is currently, and is projected to, impact our lives. Good research there, which can teach the reader what is currently available from the "tech world" and where it will lead if some trends continue to their logical conclusions. They even correctly identify that the population as a whole provides a wealth of information about itself, to the tech giants for the privilege of using "free software and services" - information that is of far more value than the services provided. (i.e. "self-surveillance")
The authors set their book sometime in the near future with the pairing of a robot (TAMS) with a female FBI special agent, as a trial to see whether or not the robot improves the effectiveness of the FBI special agent's performance. The pair have a number of experiences as the special agent tries to "train" the robot. Being a novel, of course the special agent, has to be shown as rebelling against the FBI "suits" and is of course always "correct" in the pursuit of these non-approved adventures. But, such is the state of today’s novels, this type of action is expected of the protagonist in all such books, and this one delivers "as promised".
The fact that the authors created the protagonist as a female FBI special agent, of course gives them ample room to explore the issues surrounding an active special agent having a daughter and an underemployed husband.
There are plenty of footnotes as to the sources of the various bits of information and technology referred to in the book.
Overall not a bad science fiction book - but, could certainly done without the political opinions they baked into it.