Crime thriller and psychologically-compromised sci-fi aren’t exactly strangers and for a reason. This origin story for protagonist Saskia Brandt gets much right while resolving its immediate plot and setting up plenty to work with for sequels which are already available. The very near future timeline of the novel allows for innovative and speculative tech that is easily enough understood.
Berlin-based investigator, Saskia, is having a bad string of days. Her London boyfriend broke it off with her and returning to her Berlin office, she finds her secretary in the refrigerator, 3 days dead. This is how a crime novel should start. Things take a turn for the interesting when she concludes that she is the likeliest suspect for the crime–awkward.
Either she is being framed or this has the makings of Jason Bourne-esque plot twists. This proves to be the latter with false memories, uploaded talents, neural chips, and dual personalities,those of Saskia and Ute, vying for control in the body Saskia assumed to be hers.
Then, another crime mystery, a bombing with subsequent murder, is layered atop the first. Actually, two new crimes, in Scotland, from 20 years apart with the same players–both bombing-homicides. One key player, Prof. David Proctor, has created virtual universes that play through the plot, and his daughter warps time itself with wormholes. Now multiple timelines unfurl and are deftly woven together. Causation becomes both key and conundrum. . .
There is much to like and yet further to delve in the Ute storyline that reveals itself late and slowly in the novel. Even more, one can hope that Saskia and Ute can learn to work together in a way that has not been seen before. That would also help to make Saskia more likable, not that likability is necessary.