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Smart

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Lucy runs Jon's life. With her help Jon has found wealth, health, even love. So when Lucy starts misbehaving, he naturally turns to his oldest friend, Skull, for help, because Lucy is a smartphone, and Skull is a bit of a tech guru.

But Skull has his own problems. His tech startup has failed and he’s losing everything. Besides, he doesn't believe the story Jon tells him, even when Jon mysteriously goes missing.

It is only through the intervention of Jac, Jon's enigmatic sister, that Skull is drawn into investigating his friend’s disappearance, even while his own life spirals out of control.

As the search deepens, Skull begins to question who really is behind Jon's disappearance. Is it the violent criminals who keep crossing his path? Or the corporate henchmen following him around London? Or is Lucy somehow behind it all? The answer will have momentous consequences for Jon, Skull, and almost everyone they encounter.

With vivid characters and a narrative that accelerates towards a shocking conclusion, Joel Mentmore exposes the challenge of human intercourse in an age obsessed with the smarts of technology and always-connectedness, asking who (or what) is really in control.

334 pages, Paperback

Published February 16, 2016

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Joel Mentmore

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
June 3, 2017
Smart is a brilliant book - funny, thought provoking and thoroughly satisfying. It is beautifully written, the characters finely observed and there are moments of sheer pleasure and recognition as you are drawn into a plot with unexpected twists and turns, and which propel you towards a genuinely (for me) surprise ending.
The main character is Skull, a tech entrepreneur whose company (now bust) was developing an ultra-intelligent car. The book starts, however, with the disappearance of his life-long friend Jon Fast, who had earlier asked Skull for help with his smartphone app, which he fears is on a course to kill him. Of course Skull doesn’t believe him (who would!) and only starts to take his disappearance seriously when Jon’s sister Jac appeals to him for help. As the plot accelerates, the reasons for Jon’s fear becomes intriguingly clear (no spoilers here). This unfolding narrative runs concurrently with the story of Skull’s own disintegrating life, so as he investigates we gain an insight into his failed life and are introduced to the other characters who will be pivotal in solving the mystery of Jon’s disappearance.
The prose is confident and assured, and as a multi-layered novel it manages to raise topical questions whilst at the same time remaining compelling and accessible. While it teases out and plays on many of our fears about the power new technologies have over our lives, and our increasing reliance on them, it also cleverly draws a comparison between ancient and modern tool shaping (are smartphones really the most ubiquitous tool since the neolithic flint axe?), asking if we shape our modern tools, as we would like to believe, or if they shape us?
I was delighted to discover this novel; it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
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Author 1 book1 follower
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April 9, 2020
Praise for SMART:

"Mentmore’s writing is terse and snappy, and there is a genuine feel to the dialogue that makes the process of reading enjoyable and addictive. The novel is clever in the best way – tapping into readers’ suppressed fears, and delivering a knockout finish that no one will see coming." - SPR

"SMART lives up to its name – it’s an intelligent, well-designed thriller with a chillingly plausible premise. The writing is descriptive and engaging . . . The plot unrolls itself smoothly as the book continues, drawing the story out one revelation at a time." - IndieReader

"Joel Mentmore’s SMART, clever, quick, and pithy, is the rare novel that is fantastically contemporary, a nightmare of technology that is doubtless chilling even weeks after reading. A high-tech thriller that is both a mystery of heart-stopping suspense and the tale of a perplexing, ambivalent male friendship, SMART delivers in droves—Mentmore writes terrific prose and dialogue that truly dazzles." - IndieReader Discovery Awards Verdict
Profile Image for Jeremy Sadler.
Author 6 books
October 30, 2016
What a great book! I thoroughly enjoyed it all, and at the end I just couldn't put it down.

Very well crafted, poignant, up-to-date, human, funny and scary all at the same time.

Highly recommended as the characters are ones we all recognize, and we feel Skull's pain and sometimes hopelessness, yet I found myself believing in him and willing him to believe in himself.
The plot twists are awesome too, again believable and yet growing into almost horror towards the climax.

A very intoxicating read.
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

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