Book Review: Death Logs Out

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by E. J. Simon

Published July 2018

Genre: Technology/Suspense

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Thank you Smith Publicity for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

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Back Cover Synopsis:

Is Alex Nicholas really dead?
Two years since the brutal shooting of Alex Nicholas, a gambling underworld boss in Queens, NYC. But his brother, Michael, a respected CEO, struggles with a secret: his murdered brother has been communicating with him via his laptop using AI. This AI-Alex can foresee dangers in Michael’s path, and appears to be trying to help him – even controlling machinery and electronics via WiFi. Meanwhile, trouble is stirring in the historic capital cities of Rome, Berlin and Paris. Inside the Vatican, Monsignor Kurt Schlegelberger has designs to build his power and prepare for the sudden ascension of the Free Forces Party, a throw-back to the Nazis.

Schlegelberger will stop at nothing, but first he must deal with a new threat: someone appears to know the true story behind a series of murders in the US, committed by clergy to cover their tracks of child abuse within the Church. Alex’s re-appearance puts Schlegelberger’s plans in jeopardy. Dead or alive, the way to finish off Alex for good can only be to get to his close family, namely his brother Michael…

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Review:

Death Logs Out is the third book in the Michael Nicholas series, however it can easily stand alone. This technological thriller explores religion, afterlife, artificial intelligence, and the Nazi control. It is action-packed from beginning to end! The possibilities of AI and government control are very real, which made the suspense all the more alarming.

The villains in this story are high ranking members of the Vatican. With wide publicity of the AI advancements, religion and the value of moralistic life is threatened. The people who know about the artificial existence of Alex Nicholas will do whatever it takes to ‘delete’ him and kill everyone who stands in their way. 

Yes, that’s the ultimate allure of any religion – that guaranteed reservation into the afterlife – heaven and hell and the opportunity for immorality. But, if soon we will be able to duplicate ourselves – and our very conciousness – on our computers, we may be able to enter the gates of heaven without all the praying, fasting, confessing, contributing, and guilt that our respective religions require in return” (129).

Death Logs Out is revealing and informative. Although the writing style is a bit James-Patterson-esque, with the short chapters and crime aspects, the AI-themed plot was a unique take. The many possibilities of AI described had me wondering; is AI a  technological breakthrough? Or is it the onset of a dystopian future society and an existential threat to humanity?

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The growing power of AI – now recognized by such iconic figures as Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and soon to be the subject of a 100-year landmark study by Stanford University – may challenge the monopoly that religions have had on the answer to the biggest question of all: what happens when we die? (129)”

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