“Lock In” is a unique blending of a procedural (detective) story along with a good deal of science fiction elements written by one of the best-selling authors; John Scalzi. The audiobook, available on Audible, is narrated by two different individuals. You select the one you prefer upon purchasing. This option of two narrators puts a different spin on audiobook narration. It is like a mini science experiment. I bought and listened to the likeable and excellent narration performed by Wil Wheaton; who I have enjoyed with many other audiobooks in my collection. If you are unsure which version to get, you cannot go wrong with Wil Wheaton.
What happens when a sickness, not too far in the distant future, causes one-percent of the population to be “locked in” making them unable to move yet they are fully awake and aware of their surroundings. A whole industry is created to manufacture machines these people can use to get around and communicate. These robots give them mobility and the ability to interact while remaining in their bed or other places of rest. There also exists a limited number of people called integrators that can rent out their bodies for those locked in can enter. They do not give up control of their bodies, but instead take a back seat while permitting the locked in person limited control. All integrators need to be registered and licensed with the police force.
A murder occurs involving an investigator complicating the matter and an investigation begins to reveal the killer. Was it a Locked In person? Was it the integrator? Was it someone else? What makes the story even better is that one of the lead investigators assigned to the case is a locked in individual himself. What ensues includes humor, action, adventure, prejudices, along with the complexities of the locked in society. The book is a mix of Blade Runner, Gattaca, and Hawaii-five O. It sounds like a unique blend, and it is; it works. I will say I’m not a crime genre reader, but I do like well-written science fiction and I was not disappointed by this book.
The book starts with a bang by giving some initial setup and history of the virus. It moves from there to the murder scene, and the investigation begins. The characters are well developed and at times the book can seem slow as it progresses, but it is worth the read. The book has its ups and downs, but all of it is important to the story when done. There is some strong language and descriptions of graphic violence, so I would not recommend it for younger readers. The book has some dark and gritty elements one would expect in a crime thriller, but it was not over the top.
I do not feel I need to include much information about Wil Wheaton’s narration, come on it is Wil Wheaton. His voice is clear, crisp, and the audio is clean. All aspects of the narration are professional done. I felt the pacing of the book was spot on.
If you are like me, a science fiction person, I think you will enjoy the book; it is not hard-core Sci-Fi. If you like crime novels, you may also enjoy this book, if you can get around the futuristic aspects or science fiction elements.