A psychopathic hacker and an FBI cybercrime agent must team up to solve a high-profile murder committed with an autonomous car in this provocative tech-noir thriller.
On a coastal highway in California, a self-driving SUV crashes and kills its lone occupant: the CEO of Asimov Automotive, one of the most prominent driverless vehicle manufacturers in the world. Suspecting foul play, the board of directors brings in whitehat hacker Isabella Cray to assist the investigation.
Cray is a high-functioning psychopath, using her calm, detached nature to solve problems while restraining her darkest impulses. But when someone wants her out of the picture, Cray finds herself in a game of life and death where the stakes are no less than the future of transportation.
With the clock running out, she and tech-wary FBI cybercrime agent Will Fraser enter a headlong chase across the San Francisco Bay Area—to unmask a mastermind who will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.
Auto is an adrenaline-charged, tech-savvy thriller seamlessly weaving elements of cybercrime, psychology, and suspense and a convincing feel for both California highways and a Silicon Valley tech world convinced it’s a utopia—and “skeptical of anyone interfering with how they do things." The tension escalates as she becomes the target of a relentless stalker, surviving three murder attempts that fuel her determination to unveil the sinister and yet oddly familiar mastermind behind it all. The core of the narrative lies in the partnership between Cray and FBI cybercrime agent William Fraser. Their relentless pursuit across the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area is rife with heart-pounding moments as they race against time to uncover the CEO's killer, with the future of auto-transportation hanging in the balance.
Plansky's writing style is brisk and engaging, keeping readers on edge throughout the story with jolting twists and a strong feel for squealing tires, “cacaphon[ies’ of horns,” and the unfathomable horror of rushing headlong against oncoming traffic. The blend of science-fiction, psychological intricacy, and high-stakes intrigue in the murder mystery makes Auto an enthralling read. The novel's unique narrative structure, with each chapter corresponding to a day of the week, offers a fresh reading experience. Subtle references to Isaac Asimov's works anchor Auto within the rich tapestry of sci-fi thrillers, appealing to genre enthusiasts.
Takeaway: Buckle up as this self-driving-car thriller hits the gas.
Comparable Titles: Linwood Barclay’s Look Both Ways, J. Luke Bennecke’s Civil Terror Gridlock.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A