One of my goals when I started Bert’s Books was to find good books that you might not normally find.
That’s either because they don’t have big marketing budgets, or they simply get lost among one of the other hundreds of books that get published every week.
From indie publisher Serpentine Books, Proximity by Jem Tugwell is exactly that.
It’s the first in a new series ‘iMe’ and follows DI Clive Lussac as he struggles in an underfunded homicide department to investigate a murder. At the same time, he must contend with a marriage that’s broken down.
So far, so very like many other police procedurals. What sets Proximity apart from the rest?
It’s set in the very near future and through the eyes of Lussac, it appears to be quite a bleak one.
Technology has evolved to the point where every citizen is microchipped meaning that when a crime occurs, the police can find out exactly who was in the vicinity at the time.
It means that any ‘proximity’ crimes such as violent assaults, murder, kidnap have been all but eliminated. They do still exist, but for Lussac in the homicide department, all he needs to do is press a few buttons and – bam! – crime solved.
He almost longs for the old days when solving crimes actually meant doing some real police work.
So, when a body is found with no proximity data, he must rely on his long-forgotten detective skills to track the murderer the old-fashioned way – before they strike again.
What I liked about this book was that the world it inhabits feels very real. Sometimes you can read books set in the future that don’t feel relatable, but this definitely feels like it could be something we’re headed towards.
It feels like we only get a glimpse of the changes – and most of them are presented in a negative light by the curmudgeonly Lussac, so I’m looking forward to finding out more about this world in the next book in the series.
One thing it does reveal to us – if we didn’t already know it – is that crime will always find a way and that there will always be those who believe themselves to be above the law.