Detective Chief Superintendent Kat Frank has just returned to the Warwickshire police force after the tragic death of her husband. More used to leading murder investigations, she’s surprised when her boss suggests she pilots a ground-breaking project to create the first human/virtual detective team in the UK.
The newly appointed Home Minister believes the solution to rising crime is Artificially Intelligent Detecting Entities. Known as AIDEs, these computers can crunch data, examine CCTV footage or review thousands of images in seconds, leading to cost savings and quicker results.
Convinced that the families of victims need real detectives and not a computer, Kat reluctantly agrees and is presented with an AIDE called Lock. Describing it as a “glorified Alexa”, she talks to Lock via a bracelet on her arm or, at the touch of a button, transforms it into a 3D hologram image of a 30-year-old black detective.
The unlikely pair review two missing person cold cases: Will Robinson, a theatre graduate who disappeared on his way to meet friends; and Tyrone Walters, a politics student who hasn’t been seen in weeks. While Kat trusts her gut, Lock offers assessments based on algorithms and evidence-based logic and the pair clash regularly. However they unearth evidence and both investigations are officially reactivated.
In the Blink of an Eye is an innovative and riveting police procedural. The plot is captivating, the writing is seamless and the characterisation flawless, making it hard to believe this is a debut. Jo Callaghan offers a timely future-focused dimension to the crime genre and with a second novel in the pipeline, we can look forward to more from this unique crime fighting duo.
In the Blink of An Eye by Jo Callaghan, Simon & Schuster, €12.95