Wednesday, February 2, 2011

State of Mind by Sven Michael Davison

State of Mind
The author was kind enough to send me this book for review a while ago, and it was an interesting novel. The protagonist of the story is Jake Travissi, a workaholic homicide policeman in Los Angeles. He was expelled from the force prior to the beginning of the story for using excessive force while arresting a child pornographer who was also the governor's son. He has been reinstated now, because he has agreed to participate in a pilot program to implant the P-Chip in law enforcement personnel. The program is run by Homeland Security, and the story goes "spooky" pretty quickly.

The P-Chip is supposed to be the best thing since buttered bread, I guess. If you have a P-Chip installed in the back of your brain, you can use it to directly link to the web to access any kind of information you might need. The law enforcement people in the program are also able to use it to access, what else?, law enforcement databases worldwide, to help them identify and capture criminals, terrorists, and drug dealers.

One of the inventors of the P-Chip is gunned down while speaking at a conference, and Jake's team's first assignment is to find out who, besides the killer, is involved. The government has been implanting P-chips in prisoners for a while now, for testing purposes, and because it turns out that people with a P-chip can actually be controlled through the chip. So far, the chip has been successful in turning hardened criminals into law-abiding citizens again. However, the technology that allows the chip to be controlled from the outside has some potential for abuse, and it turns out that Jake's team is being controlled by a group of hackers called the God Heads. The God Heads are manipulating the investigation by planting false memories in the chipped policemen.

There are a ton of plot twists, betrayals, plots and counterplots in this novel. One of the things I thought was an odd flaw in the novel actually turned out to be part of a plot device in the end. The only problem is that as a reader, I ended up as confused about what really went on in the story as the God Head controlled P-chippers. When every action in the book could have been a planted memory, rather than a real event, the whole thing takes on a "then I woke up" aura.

It's an interesting read from the standpoint of the possible and probable use and misuse of near-future technology.

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