Heaven is a Place on Earth
Graham Storrs

Ginny had only dated the enigmatic Cal Coplin a couple of times when the police arrived to question her about him. He’d disappeared – something that should be completely impossible in the late 21st century when everyone was electronically tagged. And then Ginny received a recorded message from Cal, asking her to deliver a small package for him. Her decision to help him plunges Ginny into a world of fear, corruption, and massive deception. On the run from the police, a dangerous terrorist organisation, and a shadowy corporation, Ginny struggles to stay alive and free while she tries to understand what is happening and prevent a deadly attack on the government. But in a world dominated by augmented and virtual realities, nothing is as it seems, and the deception runs deeper than anyone could imagine.

Heaven is a Place on Earth book cover

“That’s because, for your parents, augmented reality meant a geotagged app on their smartphone.”

This is a thrilling, intense and subtly disturbing novel which packs one heck of a wallop whilst being exciting at the same time. Storrs manages a believable extrapolation of artificial reality and forecasts a future at once fascinating and horrifying in all its sociological implications.

I took some time to warm to Ginny, and found her a little whiny and irritating to begin with. I think it was because she was just some normal, everyday person thrust into these events, whereas Storrs previous characters, in Timesplash etc, had either been professionals or proper kickass with gumption aplenty. It’s refreshing, on reflection, to see him take a run-of-the-mill lady trying to get on with the business of living and her reactions to the goings on in the book are as interesting as the events themselves.

“Reality was even more depressing than usual and it was good to get back to normality.”

Throughout the book, there’s a huge undercurrent of artificial or virtual reality as “normal”, and reality as we have it today, with our own limited senses, is considered wrong, somehow. “Only a masochist would want to see the world as it really was” is the prevailing attitude of much of the population, and when Ginny visit’s Cal’s place and sees he’s kept the reality and the augmentation together it’s a profoundly shocking moment for her.

I took to Rafe quicker, so from about the second third into this story I really was quite hooked. As the tension built and the lies and harsh realities became clearer, I found myself praying for traffic so I could finish before I had to clock in.
and then there’s the final chapter, that glorious “vicious wrenching of reality ” which is extremely unsettling and when I’d turned the final page and actually had to step out into the real world, I of course had to wonder, for a moment, how real it really was? This is a story that makes you ask questions, makes you think about what we’re being told and fed and made to think. It scared me a little, to be truthful.

Graham Storrs has once again pulled out the stops for a true page-turner of a thriller. It’s not the last we’ll see of him in 2014, but it’s certainly a brilliant way to begin the year!

Published by Sean Randall

I am an avid reader, technologist and disability advocate living in the middle of England with my wife, daughter and pets.

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