Social media can be called an exhibitionists greatest friend as it makes it so simple to share photos and videos of life. People can look and see what someone is up to and how many wish they could share in those emotions. You see someone posting about a trip of a lifetime, a risky pastime, or a great meal. Some wish they were there and engaging in those moments. If only there was a way.
Playback Effect by Karen Wyle takes the reader into a not too distant future where such a thing is possible. People are able to wear head gear that lets them relive moments of someone else’s life. They can also take their dreams, record them, and sell to others. The book does a great job of exploring the different possibilities of this technology from joy to its potential use in criminal justice.
The book opens with a horrific event on what seemed to be a rather mundane day for Wynne Cantrell and her husband Hal. She was waiting for him to join her at lunch and explosion rocks the area where she is waiting. She will survive, but is hurt in the blast with others hurt or killed around her. Hal is late, as usual, and misses the blast but a police officer, Author Kellic, will find a way to charge Hal for the attack. The reader will find out about Arthur’s connection to Wynne and how Hal will face a penalty that some could see as extremely cruel. The ruling he will face is that he will be implanted with the memories of those hurt during the explosion, and first is that of his wife.
Along with the police a crew of people come to get the eye witness recordings of what happened. A member of that crew is practically forced to record what a severely injured person remembers, and mistakenly records their death. This helps to show the dark side of this technology as people want to see and feel this recording. This becomes one of the minor plot points within the book.
The book also will explore what happens when those convicted of a crime witness the event through the eyes of those hurt. This is something Hal must live with as he gets implanted with his own wives feelings of the event, before things change for him. This will make him more understanding of who she is, but at same time other criminals start using the memories in another way.
What Playback Effect does is take several unique and complex minor, and major, plot points and threads them together so elegantly. The reader will follow the emotions that wrap around Wynne and Hal as well as the other events mentioned in the book. The key plot has a man using bombs as a way to kill a lot of people runs throughout the book.
The reader will get to find out what happens through all the threads that author Karen Wyle plants within the book. They will eventually tie together and give a great ending that will satisfy many readers in sci-fi and other genres. The fact of this book is that the plot lines are well serviced and none are left behind in this riveting, suspenseful and enjoyable book.