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Kindle Edition Digital Ebook Purchas Details
  • 9798986695839 B0CNY7MPC9
  • 426 pages
  • $0.99
T. O. Paine
Author
The Delusion
T. O. Paine, author
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. It’ll drive you crazy. Literally. Hotel ballroom lights flicker as the University of Baltimore announces the winner of this year’s Tiberian Research Award in Psychology. Years of toil and sacrifice weigh on Emma’s shoulders. Years of enduring her professor’s unearthly demands. Years of researching mass persuasion on the internet late into the night, living in a single-bedroom apartment on campus while her friends moved away and started families. Years spent watching her mother die of cancer before Emma could give her the grandchildren she wanted. Years. But it all ends tonight. Just not the way Emma thought it would . . . When her professor suddenly goes missing, she realizes the power of her research. The power of persuasion. Gaslighting on a global scale. Now, she must rescue her professor before sinister forces use her research to take over the minds of everyone on social media. And, because everyone is on social media, we’re all at risk. Look at your cell phone. Open your favorite social media app. Post pictures of your cat and catch up with trusted friends, but don’t doomscroll. Don’t believe everything you read. That’s what he wants you to do.
Reviews
Paine (The Abduction) spins a first-rate thriller that serves as an incisive metaphor for the dangers of artificial intelligence. In present-day Baltimore, graduate student Emma Petranova has spent years researching and toiling on a project about the psychology behind digital mass persuasion that seems to be a shoo-in for a prestigious prize—but when the project does win, her controlling professor, Dr. D’Angelo Santan, claims all the credit. A day after a shouting match in the parking garage, the professor goes missing. In January 1998, rich psychopath Trey Wilkes is hanging around the University of Baltimore, hoping to recruit a computer geek that will allow him to devise a technology to send dangerous subliminal messages via mass persuasion on the then-nascent internet. After failing to devise a solution on his own, decades later, Trey learns about D’Angelo’s research and decides he will stop at nothing to get his hands on it—no matter who he has to hurt or kill to accomplish that.

Paine offers smart jolts and surprises while making this dark dystopian scenario plausible. As Emma and others (including Trey’s former colleague Malcolm Schmidt) fight to find and save D’Angelo, Trey convinces Emma that he’s one of the good guys and seduces her for good measure. Meanwhile, the body count of Trey’s former hires for his unsuccessful project rapidly mounts, with several dispatched in spectacularly gruesome fashion—and it seems that evil will take over good. As Emma and Malcolm solicit help from others, innocents (including a young child) may end up as collateral damage.

The author does a masterful job of continually ratcheting up the tension and expertly weaving in red herrings. Action is crisp, though some of the torture details may be too much for squeamish readers. Polished and professional, this well-plotted and expertly wrought suspenseful tale will tick all the right boxes for readers who enjoy heart-stopping and scarily plausible stories.

Takeaway: Twisty, scarily plausible thriller that grips from page one.

Comparable Titles: Blake Crouch’s Recursion, Jon Evans’s Exadelic.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Kindle Edition Digital Ebook Purchas Details
  • 9798986695839 B0CNY7MPC9
  • 426 pages
  • $0.99
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