Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Store by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Jacob and Megan Brandeis are a dying breed, authors of books that you can find in a brick and mortar store - something that is quickly dying out thanks to the convenience of the Store.  It might have started small, but the Store has grown into a massive super company that not only conveniently supplies everything you need, but based on your data can recommend things you didn't even know you wanted or needed.  When their publisher tells them that the book they have been working on for the past two years is no longer going to be published because of changes in the market they reach out in desperation to the Store to see if it can be published and after a promising start their hopes are dashed and they come up with a new plan - write a book about the Store instead.

It seems like a simple plan, even though it means moving their two children Alex and Lindsay to small town Nebraska where the Store has their massive distribution centre.  It is a huge change in lifestyle and comes with some strangely lavish perks - including a house that seems too good to be true, a school with all the high tech gadgets you could wish for, and the convenience of drone deliveries from their local stores.  It all seems too good to be true, and the Barndeis family quickly discovers that being part of the Store family also means something darker, with hidden surveillance and claws in the velvet glove the Store extends to the family.  It soon becomes clear that Jacob is struggling to tow the company line, and standing out from the crowd at the Store is not necessarily a good thing.  As his family is sucked into the 'cult' of the Store, Jacob finds himself slowly but surely on the edge - and once he tips over their may be no coming back.  Surely Jacob is overreacting, surely the Store is just a convenient and savvy way to shop - or is it?

I was eagerly looking forward to The Store, mainly because Patterson writes some amazing speculative fiction about what might be just around the corner - fiction that makes you think about what is happening in a fresh light.  While the Store doesn't have a name other than the Store, it does seem to be based around the idea of a company similar to Amazon, and I have to confess that it was hard not to compare the Store to Amazon as I was reading (sorry Amazon!).  One of the most interesting, not to mention scary, aspects of The Store is that all the freedoms people have lost in the book are freedoms they gave away - they weren't stolen - and it makes me wonder how many people think about the information they give away every day, and the special treatment companies get each day.  For younger generations it is perfectly natural to post a lot of personal information online, and it was interesting to see the divide between young and old clearly expressed in the book - but in a way that makes the older generation seem out of touch and 'dated' rather than in the right.

The Store was devoured in a single sitting and when I reached the end it was a very satisfying feeling to have reached the end - especially with the way the book ended.  Patterson is an expert at making you wonder what is happening right to the end, and The Store is no exception.  This book may not appeal to all of Patterson's fans because it is more speculative fiction than thriller or crime fiction, but I found it well crafted and expertly drawn out to give you maximum enjoyment and maximum time to figure out what is going on.  This is the kind of book that would make an amazing movie because it is a tense psychological thriller that makes you question what you know, and makes you wonder what you would do in the same situation.  If the Store really existed would you be content to let them rule your lives completely, or would you fight to keep your personal freedoms and choices?

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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