British journalist Robert Lovelace travels to California to report on the social media giant Global Village. He’s horrified by what he finds: a company—guided by the ruthless vision of its founder, Evan Bone—that seems to be making journalism itself redundant. Appalled, he decides to abandon the project and return home.
But as he leaves he has a disconcerting encounter that sends him off in a totally different direction. Soon he finds himself embarking on an increasingly fraught and dangerous mission. The aim: to uncover the murky truth about Evan Bone’s past and his pathological disregard for the human cost of the behemoth he has created.
Robert’s quest takes him from San Francisco to a small college town in the Midwest, to the site of a former hippie commune in northern California, introducing us to a range of vivid characters and confronting us with the price we pay—online trolling, the loss of privacy, professional ruin—for living in an “interconnected” world. Finally, he makes a startling discovery—and is thrown into a completely unforeseen existential dilemma.
A timely, stylishly written, and brilliantly conceived metaphysical thriller, Coyote Fork carries us on an unforgettable journey, before bringing us face to face with the darkness at the heart of Silicon Valley itself.
It is my turn today on the blog tour for Coyote Fork: A Thriller by James Wilson. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Slant Books for my copy of the novel, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
This book is a little too scarily prescient to be an entirely comfortable read at the moment. An interesting mix of thriller, dystopian tale and morality story, it is quite different to most thrillers you will read at the moment. It has distant echoes of one of my favourite authors, John Wyndham, in the way it blends a fascinating story with undertones of science fiction and a focus on warnings against fatal paths that the human race seems to be taking. If you are looking for something unsettling that will make you think whilst keeping you entertained, look no further.
Out narrator is Robert Lovelace, a journalist who has just lost his job when his newspaper was taken over by tech mogul, Evan Bone. Incensed by the way Bone’s gigantic media company seems intent on dominating the world, taking over from all traditional news and information channels (sound familiar?), bulldozing any obstacle in his path, whilst simultaneously failing to stop the online bullying rife on his platform, Lovelace travels to California to investigate Bone and see what dirt he can dig up. The journey takes him to unexpected and dangerous places.
The books has plenty of tension, and twists and turns to keep the reader on his toes. We travel from a tech billionaire’s mansion in San Francisco to a remote Indian settlement at the foot of a mountain. The mystery behind Evan Bone’s past centres around an abandoned commune in California that seems to have two different sides to it, depending on who you ask. In his quest to find out what has moulded and driven Bone to where he is, Lovelace has to unravel what went on at the commune before it fell apart, whilst at the same time running from the shadowy figures who seem to be following him and trying to discredit him before he can report his findings.
The most fascinating part of the book is the exploration of developments in technology and social media, where that is leading us as a society and if that is somewhere that we really want to go. The developments in the online world will be familiar to all of us, including the less savoury side. The perils that the author explores here are all too prevalent already – online trolling, fake news, grooming, underground communities that incite violence and hatred, polarisation of society – we can see how these operate to the detriment of our lives in some ways already. The author takes this further and asks where it is leading? How do we deal with it? Is there a way back? His conclusions are startling and unexpected but, even if you find them unbelievable, it will have to exploring your own ideas about where we might be headed.
A very different, thought-provoking and disturbing read, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Definitely worth a read.
Coyote Fork: A Thriller is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed on the poster below:
About the Author
James Wilson is a London-based writer. His previous novels include The Dark Clue, The Bastard Boy, The Woman in the Picture, Consolation, and The Summer of Broken Stories. He has written BBC TV and radio documentaries, and is the author of a work of narrative nonfiction, The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America, which won a Myers Outstanding Book Award.
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