Tuesday 3 January 2023

In The Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan #InTheBlinkOfAnEye @JoCallaghanKat @jessbarratt88 @simonschusterUK #BookReview


In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.

Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye. 

DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat's instincts come up against Lock's logic. But when the two missing person's cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal. 

AI versus human experience. 

Logic versus instinct.

With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic? 

In the Blink of an Eye is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what we think it means to be human. 

In The Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan is published on 19 January 2023 by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This is an incredible debut novel from an author who is clearly both a talented writer and has an ingenious mind. The writing is sophisticated and precise and the plotting is tightly woven. It's a novel that I read in a couple of sittings, with such a unique premise, and one that has stayed with me since I turned the final page. 

It's most certainly crime fiction, but there's an element of speculative fiction too, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (or AI) used as a tool to help police investigations. It may sound a little far-fetched, but when we look around our world today, there's certainly the possibility that this could happen .... or maybe it already is??

DCS Kat Frank has had a really tough time personally, she's been away from work for a while after the death of her husband. She's grieving, she's a little lost, she has so many memories to deal with, but she's determined to get back to work. When she's told that she is to head up a pilot scheme that introduces AI to the force, she's more than shocked. However, the powers that be are influenced by the very vocal local MP and Kat has no choice but to take this on. The character of Lock is then introduced to the team, Lock is the the pivotal part of the AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) project. Their role is analysis of information and administrative tasks and they can do these 'in the blink of an eye'.

The pilot scheme will start with cold cases; people who have disappeared over the years, with no leads. The whole process of choosing which missing persons to concentrate on is complex in itself, and as time moves on, it becomes clear that there's far more to these cases than originally thought. 

What Jo Callaghan does so very well in this story is identify just what it takes to be human. Whilst Lock is, undoubtedly, a genius and can provide essential information in seconds, they do lack empathy, social niceties and don't have that gut instinct that humans, and especially well experienced police officers, have. 

Kat is often frustrated by Lock's way of doing things, and their interactions are often laugh out loud funny, whilst always being serious too. 

Kat is a complex character, the author has depicted a grieving widow who is trying her best to get on with life so very well. She's often outspoken, but she is always determined to get to the bottom of issues. This can cause so much tension at times, but it keeps the story flowing very well. 

This is so much more than a regular police procedural novel. It's fresh and original. perceptive and intriguing. It's a novel that will raise many questions for the reader and Jo Callaghan is an author to look out for. I'm looking forward to more, soon please! 

Jo Callaghan works full time as a senior strategist, where she has carried out research into the future
impact of AI and genomics on the workforce. 
She was a student of the Writers’ Academy Course (Penguin Random House), was long listed for the Myslexia Novel Writing Competition and Bath Novel Competition. 
After losing her husband to cancer in 2019 when she was just forty-nine, she started writing IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, her debut crime novel, which explores learning to live with loss and what it means to be human. 

She lives with her two children in the midlands, where she spends far too much time tweeting as @JoCallaghanKat and is currently writing the second novel in the series.   

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