The Earth’s spiralling population has finally been controlled. Lifespans are limited to eighty years, except for those who make an extreme choice: to become a commune. Five minds sharing one body, each living for four hours at a time. But with a combined lifespan of nearly 150 years.
Alex, Kate, Mike, Sierra and Ben have already spent twenty-five years together in what was once Mike’s body, their frequent personality clashes leading to endless bickering, countless arguments, and getting themselves stranded on a Russian arctic freighter. Wanting to buy upgrades for their next host body, they decide to travel to a Death Park where games are played and time can be gambled like money. But things go very wrong when Kate accepts a dangerous offer, and one of them disappears.
It soon becomes clear that someone is trying to kill off members of the commune. But why? Is one of them responsible? Or is an outsider playing a deadly game? It’s hard enough to catch a murderer. It’s almost impossible when you might be sharing a body with them…
What I Thought:
It’s less and less common these days – especially when you read a lot – to find books that are nothing like anything else you’ve read, so a hearty well done to Viper Books for finding Five Minds, which is brilliantly unique.
There are elements of lots of things in this book – dystopian fiction, crime fiction and even a brief foray into romance at one point – but these elements blend really well to make a dark and compelling thriller.
The concept of having each part of the story furthered by each member of the commune works really well, especially as we can assume that one of them is unreliable, but we don’t know who – there are clues of course but sifting the reality from the whopping red herrings is incredibly challenging!
Part of the book that really struck me what that there is little information about how the world is living outside of the death park that the characters find themselves in – there is a flashback section which takes place outside the park but, in the main, we have to imagine for ourselves. This works quite well, as the events of the book are then much more immediate and not bogged down in pages and pages of description bringing you up-to-date on what the places we might know are like for these characters now.
You do, however, get a great sense of the death park and the people within it, and the games that the characters are forced to play to earn time credit are brilliantly thought out – I would assume that Guy Morpuss is a fan of the cryptic crossword…
This book is imaginative and vivid – I was gripped by it and recommended it to my friend when I had only read the blurb. It’s quite remarkable for a debut novel and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from Guy Morpuss in future.
Five Minds is published by Viper Books.
About the Author:
Guy Morpuss is a London-based barrister and QC, whose cases have featured drug-taking cyclists, dead Formula 1 champions and aspiring cemetery owners. He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children. Find him on Twitter @guymorpuss, or at guymorpuss.com.
This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the publication of Five Minds – check out more reviews and exclusive content at some of the blogs below:
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book, via Netgalley, for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.