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End of the Road

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Great minds can change the world

or leave it in ruins . . .

When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she’s tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company’s campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?

On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she’s losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she’d ever imagined.

320 pages, ebook

First published January 31, 2017

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About the author

L.S. Hawker

6 books131 followers
LS Hawker grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.

Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine, and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.

Her debut thriller, THE DROWNING GAME, was a finalist in the 2016 ITW Thriller Awards in the Best First Novel category.

She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. Visit her website at LSHawker.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Sherry Fundin.
1,797 reviews119 followers
March 6, 2017
LS Hawker is a familiar name to me, so I was happy to grab End of the Road and check it out. Conspiracy and cyber terrorism, how can I pass it up?

Something is very wrong in Miranda Kansas, where Jade and a group of cyber nerds are hard at work creating a computer program, a form of artificial intelligence that Jade began to help her sister, who has autism.

The main characters are a group of computer geniuses who were chosen because of their computer skills and their ability to think outside the box.

It’s easy for me to know there is danger on the horizon, it’s just figuring out who are the bad guys that is the difficult part.

End of the Road is a realistic novel that lends credence to the attacks on our country today. How safe are we? Will Artificial Intelligence ever be a reality? Could you trust it to do what you wanted it to do, or would it choose it’s own course? Just think of the drones being used today and the TV show, Person of Interest.

I love what if scenarios…what if I was in Jade’s shoes? Could I make the tough choices?

“…in every utopia ever devised, only the “right” people would have power.”

I love conspiracies and End of the Road raises more questions than it answers.

There were some places where things didn’t work for me, and I never felt an overwhelming sense of danger, but all in all I would recommend End of the Road by L S Hawker.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of End of The Road by L S Hawker.

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Profile Image for Nycki Heisler.
2 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2017
Ms. Hawker has done it again! Another fascinating tale told with many twists and turns. Her grasp of modern day technology, film, pop culture, and the human psyche is unnerving. End of the Road will take you on a startling journey through some of the scariest realities we face in 2017 as well as giving you insight into the world of autism and its effects on the family system. If you enjoy a thriller with true depth, or if you are in anyway a part of or involved with "nerd culture." this book will be a real treat for you. But even if you don't know every scene from Star Trek or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you will still enjoy the depth of the story and the development of the characters.

In all three of her novels, Hawker has proven herself to be a great architect of perfectly timed twists and turns so that the reader closes the last page feeling like they just rode one of the greatest American coasters - a bit winded, heart pounding, but thrilled by the ride and ready to go again and again. The beginning of the tale is like being pulled up the first big hill of a coaster, link by link, knowing that a big drop is coming, full of anticipation, not really knowing when you will go over the top and be caught up in the thrilling speed of the fall. And then you are off and you better clear your day because you won't be able to get off the ride until you pull into the station. I truly can't wait to see what this author will bring to us next.
Profile Image for Ellie.
83 reviews25 followers
July 10, 2019
I really enjoyed 'The Drowning Game' so was excited to read something else by L.S. Hawker. I was must admit this started off slow, about 60 pages in I was toying with the idea of moving on to something else. However, from then on I felt the middle really picked up and had great promise. So I stuck with it. With 100 pages left I realised I was going to be disappointed.
I realised there wasn't going to be much description/back story/fleshing out when the book was rather short for this kind of story (approx. 300 pages), but I just found that I was left disappointed.
- What was the point in the guy (can't remember his name now, he made such little impact) leaving his number in Jade's back pocket, just for her to throw it in the bin and never revisit it. I found this whole character uninteresting and pointless.
- There was no story progression really with the other group of people (said guy worked for), I found this a real missed opportunity.
- Why when said guy was being interrogated for information did they then leave him with his phone? I know they couldn't get a signal in the compound but surely they wouldn't leave him with it? If nothing else, you'd think they'd at least want to look through it.
- They took Elias' phone but left the others, why?
- Jade's dad seemed to ask more questions about why she wanted an old game than he did about why the police were showing up at his house. This whole thing was infuriating. Maybe it was to show that he trusted his daughter, but I just found it a little weird.

So many more questions that just confused and irritated me, overall I found the interactions between the characters infuriating.

This book sounded interesting and I believe could have had real promise, however it seemed rushed and badly thought out. Although I'm disappointed with 'End of the Road' I feel I will read more by L. S. Hawker and keep my fingers crossed!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,396 reviews35 followers
February 28, 2017
In End Of The Road, author L.S. Hawker weaves another riveting thriller that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, secrets, and murder.

The author takes the reader on a wild roller coaster ride as tech researcher / programmer Jade Veverka tries to protect and maintain control of her invention, a computer program that communicates with Autistic people, but secretive dealings by her employers, and a strangeness about the surrounding small Kansas town, has Jade realizing that things aren't what they seem, and danger lurks around every corner.

As the reader follows Jade's dilemma, the multitude of suspenseful plot twists and turns will give them goosebumps, and keep them sitting on the edge of their seats.

End Of The Road is a fascinating thriller that you won't be able to put down, it will leave you wanting more!

Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of the book to read and provide an honest review and participate in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Profile Image for Coleen.
140 reviews2 followers
February 14, 2017
Jade is very smart and she has created something that could change the world. Little does she know that it could change it for the worse. She has been creating a possible AI. Something to enhance communication between people and between computers. Of course there is something hinky going on, and Jade along with her colleagues and friends who are also working on the project find that out.

I liked the thriller aspect and the sci-fi possibility of technological singularity. Jade was interesting and so were the secondary characters. I did also like that the author touched on being a woman in the sciences field can be tough although at times it felt like the author was saying ALL men who were in the sciences fields were part of He-Man- Woman-Haters club which bothered me. Other than that and the plot twist reveal at the end I saw a mile away I liked this book. I'd suggest it for those who want a quick reading thriller.
Profile Image for Yuuki Nakashima.
Author 7 books26 followers
April 20, 2022
It was interesting while Jade was noticing something wrong around her and the truth was being revealed. But once the truth came to light, it became action-like and the story got shallower. However, the last few chapters and the very last scene made me surprised and I loved them.

By the way, Jade's mother had a disease that killed my mother last year, and some conversations between the mother and the daughter and the description of Jade's thoughts and feelings were exactly what I experienced, so those scenes made my eyes wet. I don't know about the author well, but I'm impressed by her research for the situation of families with the disease if it's not based on her experience. So this fact made Jade's autistic sister's characteristic convincing at least for me.
Profile Image for Meagan Palmer.
4 reviews6 followers
February 5, 2019
Another great book from this author

This book was ever so slightly slower than the others I've read by this author, but only because of the need to describe in detail some technical parts of the story. Other than that (unless you're one who finds IT fascinating) , this book was incredible. I love how this author always keeps you guessing up to the end. Her books are well-thought out, and well-written. I rarely, if ever, come across typos or any editing problems. I appreciate that because constant mistakes take away from the flow of the story.
Profile Image for Cam Torrens.
Author 1 book7 followers
May 15, 2023
Jade Veverka, a young tech genius, embarks on a journey that unravels a series of unsettling mysteries. After her groundbreaking program attracts the attention of a startup, Jade finds herself entangled in a bizarre and secretive Kansas town. The absence of children and the strange behavior of its inhabitants raise alarming questions. When a harrowing encounter on the road lands Jade and her coworker in confinement, suspicions escalate. Hawker skillfully builds tension as Jade grapples not only with the safety of her invention but with her very existence.
Profile Image for Annie.
1,924 reviews16 followers
February 24, 2017
wow. so many 5 stars...? this is my third book by L.S. Hawker and the first two blew me out of the water but this one, I'm like... what the hell happened? This reads as for 8 to 10 year olds, maybe Y.A. It was a good read but, definitely no twists or turns, not scary, not thrilling. I'd say cute.
Profile Image for Chandru CS.
376 reviews11 followers
April 23, 2018
It is a good thing I don't know

Cuz I coon ben ovr n pig ub a dime. This new super-slo-mo-slur voice haunted Jade’s dreams. No, that wasn’t quite right. Mom’s old voice haunted them. In the dreams, Pauline would say, “I was shining you on! Pretty funny, huh?” And in the dreams, Jade was always furious at her mother for doing this to her.
Profile Image for Heather.
158 reviews35 followers
May 5, 2017
I finished reading "The Circle" and then read "End of the Road"...LS Hawker's story is so much more intense and she doesn't lose the opportunity to write a great story!!! This would be a much better movie!!!
Profile Image for Nina.
Author 15 books62 followers
January 9, 2018
Another great read by L.S. Hawker. Fabulous page turner!
Profile Image for Stina.
Author 5 books66 followers
August 22, 2018
Book #44 for 2018
Goodreads Summer Reading: Embrace Your Inner Geek - Read a book about geek culture
50 States Challenge: Kansas
Old Firehouse Books Summer Bingo Square: A Book by a Female Author

Here's another one with big-ass spoilers in the cover blurb, so do yourself a favor and don't read the cover blurb! Geez, what is up with publishers? Do they not understand that putting almost the entire plot in the cover blurb kills suspense and maybe they shouldn't oughta do that for a suspense novel?? Fortunately, Hawker's writing style, with its Ex Machina: Screenplay vibe, kept me turning the pages anyway.

The autism angle also interested me, especially when paired with AI development, which is at the core of the story. The person-first language and a few other details make me think that Hawker and I probably have different ideas on some significant issues, but in creating Clementine (Jade's autistic sister) she showed a lot of sensitivity and love, and it was clear that she gets that autistic people are also real people with real value as human beings. Although my experience on the neurodiverse spectrum is very different from Clementine's, I could connect with her in many ways.

I don't have enough of a background in computing to say what in this story was science and what was science fiction. I did enjoy its celebratory attitude towards geekery in general and I'm glad it portrayed some of the difficulties girls and women face in STEM fields, particularly if they are also on the ND spectrum.

I was a little frustrated by how the book's ending left the Olivia subplot unresolved, so I hope Hawker writes a sequel. I also have questions about Dan that could be addressed. So if you have a hard time with ambiguous endings, and there's no sequel out yet, be warned that this may not be a good pick for you.

Profile Image for Elena Hartwell.
Author 5 books142 followers
February 28, 2017
Tense, thriller meets amateur sleuth. It's in a genre all its own. Young, smart, beautifully-flawed protagonist in a high tech world.
Profile Image for Chloe Hawker.
28 reviews5 followers
July 8, 2017
Sometimes, you read a book, and the characters hang around with you long after you turn the last page. Jade, Berko, Elias, and Olivia are unlikely friends who come together through their wits and the impossible circumstances they weather together, and this book made me feel like I was one of their number, too. Though they're definitely all smarter than me.

In all seriousness, this book introduces a diverse cast of interesting characters who defy stereotypes (a Kansas farm girl who was an all-star punter and a CS genius, for example) and make an otherwise pulse-racing story also a ton of fun. It's hard to resist Olivia's self-aware wise cracks or Elias's military charm.

But for all its fun, the book never forgets how much is at stake here, and never lets you, either. Just when you think you've figured out where LS Hawker is headed, she pulls the rug out from under you again and it's a whole new world. Once you get about halfway through this book, look where you've gotten and take a peek at how many pages are left. Yup. A lot happens in this book.

Even with the zippy one-liners, there were definitely more than a few stomach-turning moments and times I wanted to throw the book across the room for making me have feelings. You can definitely feel a little glee from the writer at knowing she's keeping us up through sleepless nights. But I also had to finish it, so I guess the real mark of a great book is how much you can beat it up in anger while still racing through the end?

Even through the winding plot and the fascinating tech background, there's a lot of heart here. In addition to the really cool friendships between the main characters, there's also Jade's autistic sister Clementine, delightful and frustrating in all the right ways in her fox ear headband, not to mention the magnetic Colonel Dan and distance-judgment-impaired Martin. I don't always feel like the characters in thrillers are people I would love to be friends with, but End of the Road made me feel right at home.

Of course, where the book really shines is the way it brings all of these elements into its head-spinning conclusion, but I wouldn't want to give it away.

It's a nerd-fueled, female-led ensemble that plays with the danger, and the fun, of knowing you're smarter than everybody else. And the question is -- can you control it?
Profile Image for Wall-to-wall books - wendy.
941 reviews22 followers
February 13, 2017
Fan-freaking-tastic! LS Hawker does it again, she never ceases to amaze me! OK guys, trust me, this was one suspenseful book! Was it my imagination? Or was the Twilight Zone theme song playing in the background while I was reading this?

Talk about edge-of-your-seat suspense and action. Wow! Loved the characters, just loved them! I can't even decide who was my favorite. Character development was excellent. These people (Jade, Olivia, Elias, Berko) were superheros in the unconventional way. They were all flawed. Super smart, geeky nerds! But flawed, and I loved that! They were so real. Just your average everyday people out to save the world! LOL

There were a few moments where I seriously had goosebumps, it gave me the creeps, and that doesn't happen too often!

But in all the suspense. This did me in. This was the awwwww moment -

"I love you, mom," Jade said.
"Look at your arm."
This is what she said nowadays when Jade said I love you.
Right after Pauline was diagnosed with ALS, Jade had asked her to write "I love you" on a piece of paper. She did, and Jade had it tattooed on her left forearm. ~ sniff sniff

Wow, what an awesome idea!

And then the end, Oh my gosh! The ending... there is was again - Twilight Zone music!
I just loved this book!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Book Tours - . Thank you!
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 11 books14 followers
April 13, 2017
I have read all three of LS Hawker's books now, and I have to say, END OF THE ROAD was her best yet. Full of twists and turns, it is extremely well written and has a fantastic, well-developed cast of characters. This book kept me guessing at every turning point. Well done!
Profile Image for Andrea.
299 reviews556 followers
July 29, 2019
High-Tech Suspense

End of the Road was a slow burn, the groundwork went on for close to half the book. Once we hit full speed, I was willing to go the distance, but until then, I almost forced myself to keep going. The plot was very...on the nose, in regards to the dangers of what can be accomplished when technology gets into the wrong hands. I’ll admit, this book further stoked my deep-seated fears regarding the dangers of the wrong people in power. It was published in January 2017, but almost seems prophetic.

For readers looking for a high-tech suspenseful read, End of the Road is a good bet. As for me, I’m headed off to make my tin foil hat.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,463 reviews
December 24, 2016
Interesting plot, strong characters, not real happy with the ending - left me hanging!
Four computer people are hired for their skills to create a program for a "private" company. Jade created a program that helps Austin people communicate. The company wants it to expand on it. As the four continue to work, they realize all is not what it seems.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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