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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Hocking, Ian: Déjà Vu

  Amazon  

4 stars

It is inevitable that David Proctor and Saskia Brandt, the two protagonists of Ian Hocking's futuristic novel Déjà Vu, will meet. Proctor is suspected of multiple murders, most recently that of his former colleague Bruce Shimoda, with whom he had once worked on the creation of a top-secret virtual world. He is also suspected of bombing the lab that he and Shimoda shared some twenty years earlier, back in 2002, an explosion which happened to kill his own wife. Saskia Brandt, in contrast, doesn't know her own back-story, but she does know that she works for the FIB, Europe's Federal Investigation Bureau, and that she's been ordered to capture Proctor. Saskia also knows that she is super-human insofar as manifold bits of information have been implanted in her brain. She quite literally knows things she doesn't know she knows: should she find herself in the cockpit of an airplane, for example, she may or may not discover that she is an expert pilot. Using investigative skills she'd been unaware she possessed, Saskia follows Proctor across continents, a high-tech chase scene that will leave readers, if not breathless, certainly interested.

Déjà Vu is a smart read filled with clever, fresh dialogue:

"Saskia stared, unfocused, at the wall. 'If I fail, what will happen to me?'

'For murder?' The death penalty. Although after the Richter ruling, you might be lucky and just have your brain wiped. Street-cleaning isn't so bad. They wear epaulettes.'"

The book offers readers an intriguing mystery right from the get-go: Saskia, who is being framed herself for murder at the book's opening, must solve the crime before a refrigerator repairman arrives in her office the next day. (Really. It is the scene early on in which Saskia discovers the corpse she's allegedly responsible for that hooked me on the book.) The plot of Déjà Vu is intricate enough to leave readers pondering its twists long after they've finished it. It may indeed be a bit too complicated, or may at least occasionally leave too much unexplained: I was left with a few questions that might require a second reading to clear up. In particular, the almost dreamlike segments in the book in which the characters are acting in the virtual environment Proctor helped create can be confusing and are less satisfying than the rest of the story. That said, I very much enjoyed the world Hocking has created and the characters with which he's populated it.

While the virtual world Hocking's scientists created left me cold, I was otherwise smitten with the author's view of the future, in particular with its cool gadgetry. In the 2020's, computers are everywhere. Driverless taxis tool around providing easy transport. Refrigerators self-diagnose and summon repairmen when appropriate. Best of all is the computer prototype that David Proctor makes so much use of: Ego is a close to omniscient, credit-card-sized personal computer that is forever increasing its own store of knowledge and performing helpful tricks. Ego constantly scans innumerable sources--the internet, police communications, spy novels--for information relevant to its master's situation, and upon command it is ready to act as an interpreter or magnetic card key, a voice-activated recorder or explosive device, a lie detector or, well, an iPod. In short, I want one. I just hope Steve Jobs is paying attention.

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