Déjà Vu by Ian Hocking (book review).

November 15, 2015 | By | Reply More

Every now and then a story comes along that makes me sit up and take a bit of notice. Well, ‘Déjà Vu’ by Ian Hocking is one of those. It is set in the year 2023 so it’s not too far in the future but far enough for some startling breakthroughs to have occurred. I suppose you would call it a techno-thriller as it does invoke quite a bit of technology into the plot and it is certainly a thriller. I found it to be a real page-turner and very hard to put down.


Chapter One opens up with agent or rather Kommissarin, Saskia Brandt of the European FIB (Federal Office of Investigation) returning to her office. She had been summoned back from a disastrous holiday with her boyfriend, Simon, by her supervisor. Unfortunately, things are only going to get worse for Saskia as there has been a murder and she only has 12 hours to prove she did not do it. Where it gets interesting for us (the reader, not Saskia) is that things are not as they seem. Saskia has to find her way through implanted memories to uncover some level of the truth.

It’s not until Chapter Four that we meet the other central character in the story, one Professor David Proctor. A widower and estranged from his only daughter, he lives and works in Oxford. Proctor is in possession of Ego, a small prototype digital personal assistant. That might be doing Ego a disservice as it seems to have the computing power of a super-computer and be very knowledgeable about security. It shows all the hallmarks of being a true artificial intelligence similar to Kitt from ‘Knight Rider’.

Straight away things turn interesting for Proctor when an intruder cajoles him to returning to the site of an old secret project in Scotland he was involved with. This project was curtailed after an explosion damaged the underground facilities and killed Proctor’s wife. Although never proved, Proctor was the prime suspect as it was believed to be deliberate sabotage.

What follows is a whirlwind of events as Proctor completes the initial task which leads to him being hunted by the Police who are assisted by Kommissarin, Saskia Brandt. Proctor has a mysterious helper while Ego proves to be invaluable with the amount of assistance it can provide. There are several new technologies on show here and the motorbike Proctor uses is impressive (I do so want one!). Time travel also rears its ugly head but is very well done. For me, the most interesting thing was the implanted personality of Saskia Brandt.

This brings me to my biggest complaint of the book: it’s just too short! Lots of the ideas could easily have been expanded on but perhaps I’m just being selfish here. The story is after all a very well-written techno-action thriller and digressing into the things that support the main storyline would only slow the whole thing down. Mind you, it does go at quite a pace and a rest every now and then would be nice. Apart from the new technologies, one of the things I particularly liked was the way various bits of Proctor’s life were tied together as consequences of actions he took then and now. As I said, the time travel bit is very well done.

If you were to pick up a copy of ‘Déjà Vu’, you will find it hard to put down and then I expect you would also be looking for more from Ian Hocking.

Andy Whitaker

November 2015

(pub: Unsung Stories. 236 page ebook. Price: £ 4.68 (Kindle edition). ISBN: 978-1-907389-22-1)

check out website: www.unsungstories.co.uk


Category: Books, MEDIA, Scifi

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About AndyWhitaker

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties.

My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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