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The Assistant

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  422 ratings  ·  123 reviews
She’s in your house. She controls your life. Now she’s going to destroy it.

A terrifying and timely new psychological thriller, from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of The Ice Twins.

She watches you constantly.
Newly divorced Jo is delighted to move into her best friend’s spare room almost rent-free. The high-tech luxury Camden flat is managed by a meticulous Home
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published December 26th 2019 by HarperCollins (first published December 2nd 2019)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Irena BookDustMagic
Going into this book I had no idea what I signed up for. You see, I recklessly thought that the assistant in this story is a live, breathing person, when instead it was a smart device, similar to Alexa from Amazon.
Even though the story is set in present, at times it felt like the events took place in the future, but I would ascribe that to my “less technology” style of life.

I was so happy when I got an invitation to read this book because I previously read The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne and
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Paromjit
SK Tremayne's latest psychological thriller is terrifically creepy and thought provoking about the nature of our contemporary world, questioning its increasing reliance on technology and the potentially malign ways in which social media can be abused. Jo is a journalist whose life has fallen apart, she has recently divorced, and is in dire financial straits, so she positively welcomes the opportunity of being offered a home at such little cost by a wealthy friend in their luxury Camden flat. It ...more
Carolyn
This is a clever, dark and creepy thriller depicting what can happen when AI goes rogue! It might make you think twice about installing a home assistant or looking sideways at the one you already have to check if it's watching you.

The narrator, Jo Ferguson is a recently divorced freelance journalist, struggling to make a living in London so when her best friend Tabitha offers her a spare room in her luxury Camden flat she jumps at it. Tabitha's flat is controlled by voice activated home
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Mandy White
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Assistant by SK Tremayne is a realistic and creepy story. Whilst reading this I was thinking about how easy it would be these days - everything is run on technology and we rely on it so heavily. Set in the worst winter that London has seen for years this book is sinister and dark and will get under your skin. Who or what can you trust? They are always watching, and listening.

Jo is a recently divorced journalist who is struggling to make ends meet in London. So when her best friend Tabitha
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Andrea
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I knew it! This is exactly why I don't have any kind of digital home help - I don't even talk to Siri. It feels good to have my reluctance validated, in this story of home assistants gone rogue.

It's just after Christmas, in the coldest winter Britain has experienced since the 60s, and we are in the London borough of Camden. Here, newly divorced and almost homeless, freelance journalist Jo Ferguson has gratefully accepted her best friend's invitation to move into the spare room of her luxury flat
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Sue
THE ASSISTANT, a creepy psychological/techno thriller is the fourth book written by the No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller author, under the pen name S.K. Tremayne. It warns of the highlights of modern technology taking over our lives, and is both an eye-opener and realistic and plausible in today’s world.

The novel centers around Electra, a personal assistant, that takes care of the heating, the lights in the home in which newly divorced Jo Ferguson is currently living, after moving into her best
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Louise Wilson
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up to 4

Jo is currently living in Tabithas apartment. Its full of electronic devices and gadgets. Electra starts talking to Jo, telling her she knows what she did to the boy. Only two other people knew this secret. Electra keeps revealing more and more about Jo's life. Is Jo going crazy, imagining the device is talking to her? After all, her dad had just before he committed suicide.

I found this to be a it of a slow burner. Thankfully the pace does pick up after you've read
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Sarah
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow this was an excellent read. I haven’t read a book so good in a long time. I was so hooked and desperate to find out what was really going on. There were so many suspects I changed my mind a lot and still didn’t get it right. It was a different kind of thriller than normal especially with the Electra’s. They were really creepy but made the story even better. I really liked Jo and really wanted to know if it was her going mad or if it all was really happening. There was so much going on and so ...more
Lou
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Assistant is the fourth book written under the nom de plume S. K. Tremayne; it is by far his most compulsive and chilling yet and serves as a stark warning about the perils of permitting our devices access to our very essence and precise, in-depth and eminently sensitive data on not only our lives and loves but our families and close ones too. It is a cross between a technothriller and a psychological thriller and is the perfect creepy story for the modern technological era in which we live. ...more
Miriam Smith
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbc
After a rather slow and tedious start to “The Assistant” (I mean who takes up to two hours and ponders on three basic profile dating site questions?), I did get into the story and found the second half of the book quite riveting and tense. With technology speeding along the way it is and advancing every day, this story based on hacked household smart speakers (like Amazon’s Alexa but much more capable), does sound far fetched but not totally unrealistic. It’s quite frightening how easy it is to ...more
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: November 19th 2019


"I do not understand the extent of the hatred and the violence of the damage done to me. Why and how do I deserve this? What is the point?"

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoiler)
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Shalini
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Woah!! What a book!! The first thing I did after reading it is packed up my Alexa. No more virtual assistants for me ever. The book played on my fears brilliantly.

Jo shared Tabitha's flat which was wired and in control by the Virtual Asistants called Electra. And they knew Jo's dark secret. In Tabitha's absence, the assistants spoke to her, revealed secrets and videos, sent nasty mails to friends. Basically they isolated Jo completely and drive her nearly to suicide.

My third book by author S. K.
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Bettina
Dec 13, 2019 marked it as want-to-ditch  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 50%, skimmed the rest.

Right from the start I was so annoyed by the main character. She's full of prejudice and resentment for rich people, yet she surrounds herself only with them. Then she constantly reminds us (herself?) That she's broke, yet she takes Ubers and invites people for dinner. Also all the rich people act comically stuck-up and everyone is overly aware of each other's finances.

I didn't care about the "tech is evil" theme either. The author's decision to sprinkle in the
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Julie Lacey
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a great read that had me gripped throughout the book.
Jo is grateful when her friend Tabitha offers her a place to stay when she needs it, but she can’t get used to all the Smart technology there.
She has ‘Assistants’ that turn the lights on and answer questions and are called Electra. This is very similar to Amazon’s Alexa so freaked me out a bit.
Electra says something that takes Jo’s breath away and she becomes worried about what these devices are capable of.
They soon start talking
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Ophelia Sings
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
As technology continues to encroach on every aspect of our lives, SK Tremayne's new novel makes us wonder what would happen if that tech went wrong - or was used to nefarious ends...

It's a thoroughly modern take on the thriller genre, and one which we're seeing more and more of. However, while decently chilling in places, there are far better examples on offer than The Assistant.

The plot is decently crafted (it does get a bit preposterous toward the end, as is the wont of the genre and not
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Stina
I read and loved S.K. Tremayne's first thriller "The Ice Twins" so I was excited to read THE ASSISTANT. But while the premise promised a disturbing tale at the hands of a Home Assistant, I found it slow and drawn out and relatively unexciting. I was disappointed because the concept of such a thing happening was unique to this type of book despite the very real danger of it occurring through cyber attacks.

I guess I must be in the minority as many people have enjoyed it, so maybe I will come
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Emma Shaw
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story has seeped into my psyche and given me the most bizarre dreams of technology terrorising my life since reading. I don’t have an Alexa, any smart meters or Home Assistants. And after this book, I have never been more thankful of that! Intriguing, suspenseful, creepy and unpredictable, The Assistant exposes and explores a very modern fear alongside ones that have been around for years.

Jo is a freelance journalist, recently divorced and living in her best friend Tabitha’s spare room.
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Hayley Hyde
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When AI goes rogue! The premise of this book is totally plausible today with all the “Alexa” type gadgets homes have - hence this made a really creepy gripping read! It starts off slow paced but the second half of the book really picks up and of course you have to rattle through to get to the “reveal” of any good psychological thriller.
Rachel Hall
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Heavy-handed execution of a timely & relevant premise that becomes progressively more far-fetched.

The Assistant is both a timely and relevant novel regarding the increasing reliance on technology in everyday life, the potential of artificial intelligence and the pitfalls of social media. Although the novel is certainly creepy in parts I didn’t find it quite the thriller I was hoping for due to pacing issues, a storyline that quickly becomes repetitive and a slight crossover into science
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Sue Frances
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Being in my sixties I'm not really into technology, though I do love my Kindle. The Assistant gave me the creeps!
S. K. Tremayne is an excellent author and I've read all four of his books now. Sometimes they can be slow to get going and that's true of the Assistant. Stick with it though and it just gets seriously better!
Thank you NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this book.
Thebooktrail
If you have an Alexa style device in your home or one like it, well lets just say if you read this book you might well be throwing it in the bin after this!

A novel for our times - what do you do if the machine you talk to and ask things, talk intimately in the same room as it is, share everything that goes on inside your home...and it listens and listens... Then it starts answering back, talking to you, controlling you and wanting to destroy you.

If that doesn't get people talking, thinking and
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Ludwig
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
“I know your secret. I know what you did to that boy. How his eyes rolled white. I know everything.”

Imagine being offered a place to live (rent-free) which, you later realize, is managed by a Home Assistant that not only answers questions and perform all sorts of tasks, but also knows your deepest darkest secrets. That’s what Jo Ferguson has to live through...

I thought the first quarter (130 pages) could use a bit of trimming in regards to the length of the monologue and events as they aren’t
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Gary Dowden
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Freelance journalist Jo is out of luck. Divorced, work dried up and she harbours a terrible secret from years ago which her electronic home assistant Electra inexplicably knows about. After that things spiral rapidly downhill as Electra sets out to destroys everything about Jo. Friends, family and her past! But how or who is behind it??
It's a hugely interesting (and worrying? )concept as the likes of "Electra's" get more and more prelevant in our homes. Is the AI that good that they will know or
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Kath Middleton
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was engaged by the concept that electronic Assistants in the home (this one’s Electra) may work with a sinister purpose. I was blown away by the execution of the story. There was a relentless feel to the way it evolved and I couldn’t see a way out for poor Jo. It’s a fear many of us have, that we don’t want to put our life in the hands of a piece of technology. In a way, Jo has had no option as she’s living in a friend’s flat and these things are part of the deal. The last part of the book is ...more
Vikki Patis
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a dark, compelling novel! I read it while sat in my house with my smart thermostat and lights and doorbell, only interrupting my reading to ask Alexa to turn the lights up or the kettle on (the only unrealistic part of this book - why Electra did not put the kettle on is beyond me). I've been waiting for smart technology to make an appearance in this genre, and I'm only gutted I didn't think of it first. The Assistant is an excellent, contemporary novel mixed with the timeless classic - the ...more
Susan Angela Wallace
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
The assistant by S.K Tremayne.
A very good read with some good characters. It wasnt who I thought it was. I loved Jo's character. 4*.
Chloe
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Assistant by SK Tremayne is a slow building realistic creepy thriller.It makes us question our reliance on technology and the misuse of social media in today’s times.A thought provoking read which I enjoyed thoroughly. I would like to thank ,Harper Collins UK & NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.
peggy
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A I technology is now part of lives and we have readily accepted it as it enhances our lives. Now imagine that you are in a house full of the stuff, anything to make our lives easier. Now go one step further and your house has its own agenda and you are not included. Well written, pay, scary and a real page turner. An easy five stars and so Highly Recommended. Alexa is unplugged!!!!!!
I would like to thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in return for giving an honest review.
Megan Jones
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Newly divorced Jo is delighted to move into her best friend’s spare room almost rent-free. The high-tech luxury Camden flat is managed by a meticulous Home Assistant, called Electra, that takes care of the heating, the lights – and sometimes Jo even turns to her for company. Until late one night, Electra says one sentence that rips Jo’s fragile world in two: ‘I know what you did.’ Jo is horrified. Because in her past she did do something terrible. Something unforgivable. Only two other people in ...more
Vanessa Wild
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, if you’re thinking of buying yourself a virtual assistant, you might think twice after reading this book! It’s scary stuff, I can tell you!

After her divorce Jo Ferguson moves into her friend’s flat in Camden which is managed by a home assistant called Electra. One night Electra starts talking to her as if it knows her personally and taunts her with a big secret only Jo and a couple of other friends should know about. From here on in things only get worse.

Well, this is very much a page
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Hello! I am S K Tremayne, but my true name is Sean Thomas.

I write books where real places become menacing, and where ordinary people experience something extraordinary.

Born in Devon, I now live in London, but I travel a lot in my second job as a journalist, sometimes visiting places which inspire the books. My first S K Tremayne thriller, THE ICE TWINS, was a number one Sunday Times bestseller.
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