Cell 7

Jul. 12th, 2018 09:43 pm
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[personal profile] alobear
Cell 7 is the first in a trilogy by Kerry Drewery, imagining a world in the not too distant future where the justice system has become a reality TV show, and people vote on whether or not the accused are guilty. It starts with the protagonist, Martha, being arrested for murder and placed in the first of seven cells on death row, then charts her progress from one cell to the next while flashbacks fill in the background and various people outside fight to save her.

I liked the characters, especially the counsellor Eve, who desperately wants to help but is unable to do anything but offer support to the accused. The presentation of the TV episodes effectively cast the reader in the part of a participant in the system - we are tuning in to watch Martha's fate just as much as the TV audience.

But the plot of the crime and what led up to it are a bit thin to stretch over even a short book. It gets very repetitive and the hints at later shocking reveals are heavy-handed and a bit wearing. The devolvement of society is hard to suspend disbelief for, too - the system as portrayed is too extreme to be credible, in my view. As a comment on some of the worrying trends of today, though, it's a chilling picture, and it certainly ramps up the tension in the real-time finale. I did like the cynicism of the conclusion...

There are two more books in the series, and I'd quite like to know what happens, but if the first book is anything to judge by, I'm not sure it'll be worth the expenditure of the time it will take to find out.

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