Ebook review: Killer Minds by Stephen Sackleigh

About the author:”…enthusiast for science fiction…continued to read the writings of Jules Verne, HG Wells, Ray Bradbury, EE ‘Doc Smith’, Iain M Banks, Gregory Benford and, lately, Hugh Howey amongst others. Now I am trying my hand at crafting my own creations. I live in London, England and my star sign is Virgo.”

From the dust cover: “Simon Carlisle is a police Technical Support Officer who is called to the scene of a violent death in a world where this is an extreme rarity. The population has cranial implants from birth that prevent them from committing violent acts. He is hiding a secret of his own – He has mental control over his implant. In this near future story, Simon is called on to attend the location of anyone who has died to carry out the initial examination. His ‘patch’ is Wimbledon in South London and one October night he is called out to examine the body of a young woman who has been stabbed to death and left on the street. It should be near impossible for this to have happened as everyone has a microcircuit embedded in their head that causes the secretion of calming hormones when they become stressed. Violent crime is virtually unknown.

Intrigued by the extraordinary murder, he checks the autopsy report when he returns to the office and finds that the case is even stranger than he first thought as this woman had no brain implant. He decides that he will make an investigation in his own time as he is not a detective and cannot do this officially. He uncovers a world that he did not know existed but, in so doing, he puts his life and the lives of his loved ones in danger.

The murder victim’s implant has been removed by a shadowy organization that soon becomes aware that Carlisle is delving into their affairs. Government agents want the information to be kept confidential and soon he finds that his colleagues turn against him. He finds himself friendless and in grave danger.”

My Ebook review: On the surface Killer Minds is a fine thriller that ranges far and wide and keeps up a breathless pace. The pages are filled with dramatic scenes and interesting characters. The main character Simon discovers himself and his very precarious situation caused by his unusual capabilities; his story is well told. There is a splendid feeling of an invisible hand behind the scenes, of Big Brother watching everything and of the confusion created by the talents of the main protagonists.

Killer Minds raises a number of interesting questions about how much civil liberty we should sacrifice for the sake of eradicating criminal behavior. It also clearly points to the fact that no matter how hard we try the basic human nature is to strive and for a small percentage this striving is horribly misguided. There will always be these people at the end of the bell curve no matter where the average of normality is placed. Stephen Sackleigh covers this point well without making a huge point out of it.

My limited philosophy education led me to recall Descartes “Discourse on the Method” and the discussion of what can we trust from our senses and what is real. It is interesting to consider that what we see is the effect of photons interacting with cell membrane receptors in the retina to create a morphological change in the molecule that initiates an intracellular cascade and thus a signal to the site center of the brain which then interprets what we ‘see’.

This is an intelligently written work that has various layers to be discovered and considered.

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