An impossible murder. A ticking deadline. A political coup. A Hitchcockian thriller set in a chilling near future.
Alma is a private detective in a near-future England, a country desperately trying to tempt people away from the delights of Shine, the immersive successor to the internet. But most people are happy to spend their lives plugged in, and the country is decaying.
Alma's partner is ill, and has to be treated without fail every 4 hours, a task that only Alma can do. If she misses the 5 minute window her lover will die. She is one of the few not to access the Shine.
So when Alma is called to an automated car factory to be shown an impossible death and finds herself caught up in a political coup, she knows that getting too deep may leave her unable to get home.
What follows is a fast-paced Hitchcockian thriller as Alma evades arrest, digs into the conspiracy, and tries to work out how on earth a dead body appeared in the boot of a freshly-made car in a fully-automated factory.
Adam Roberts is the author of 14 SF novels, most recently Jack Glass (which won the UK BSFA and the US John Campbell awards for best SF novel, 2013), as well as a number of critical works about science fiction, including Science Fiction (Routledge, 2000) and The Palgrave History of Science Fiction (Palgrave 2006). He regularly reviews the genre for The Guardian and is also a Professor of 19th-century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London; where he also teaches Creative Writing to undergraduates, specialising in 3rd-year final projects in SF and Fantasy.