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Proximity (iMe Series Book 1) by Jem Tugwell

Welcome to my post on the blog tour for Proximity (iMe Book #1) by Jem Tugwell! 

Today, I have an exclusive excerpt for you to read, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book! 

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Proximity (iMe Series Book 1)
Genre: Techno Thriller/ Procedural
Publisher: Serpentine Books

You can’t get away with anything. Least of all murder. 

DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime. Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable. With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…

Leading the trend in speculative crime thrillers, Jem Tugwell’s thrilling and thought-provoking debut sits alongside Black Mirror and The City and the City in a compelling exploration of our near future. Proximity draws on Jem’s 20 years of professional experience as a software developer in the city to give an unnerving insight into how our world might be transformed by the rapid advance in embedded technology and fitness trackers.

What if the cash-strapped public healthcare system can be given a second life by using tech to regulate our health and behaviour?

What if we can eradicate gun, knife and other proximity crimes by tracking everyone’s activity?

What if civil liberty is seen as an acceptable sacrifice for the greater good?

What if the convenience of technology is used for control?

“Proximity is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. From my own experience, technologists are often amazed or horrified about the other uses that people imagine for their products. Clive and Zoe’s world might be closer than we think, but is it heaven or hell? How do we decide the perfect balance of free will and greater good?” – Jem Tugwell

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Imagine a chip implanted in your body that told you when to exercise, and what to eat, and pin-pointed your whereabouts every single minute of the day.  Then imagine a serial killer who is able to buck the system. DI Clive Lussac will need to go old school to investigate the murders.

DI Clive Lussac is a dinosaur. This new iMe technology is an invasion of privacy. Whatever happened to solving a case the hard way by good old-fashioned sleuthing? Whatever happened to having a drink or having a piece of chocolate anytime you wanted without the Ministry of Health and Well-Being doling out Freedom Units (FUs for short)?  Now everyone’s daily life and habits are tracked by a surgical implant, but technology is not as infallible as the government thinks. There is a serial killer on the loose and Clive and his young partner DC Zoe Jordan have to hunt him down the old-school way.

Clive and Zoe are total opposites as partners, but they work well together with Clive’s experience and Zoe’s techno knowledge. 

I enjoyed this fast-paced techno-thriller with Head-Up Displays (HUDs), Freedom Units (FUs), and self-driving cars. In this world of CCTV and GPS tracking, it’s a believable and frightening story for our future.  Recommend highly!

Thank you to Mr. Tugwell for giving me the opportunity to review this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Jem TugwellI am a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University. Proximity is my thrilling debut novel, inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. Available on 6 June 2019.

In a past life, I had a successful career in investment management, and now live in Surrey with my wife. I have two great children and dog. Outside of my family and writing, my loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.

Follow Jem on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.


Chapter 2 – DI Clive Lussac

The rotating blade snagged, blood spurted, and a finger hit the floor. I paused the video stream I was watching, dragged my feet off the desk, and tipped forward so that my rigid chair dropped back onto all four legs. I yawned and stretched the sluggishness out of my limbs. Today was another day at the office with nothing much to do, so I was half-heartedly trying to get through my backlog of compulsory episodes of Safety First. This episode showed how dangerous the old versions of tools used to be. I sighed. These were all the same ones I remembered from my childhood. Not like the ultra-safe new tools, packed with safety sensors and checks that made them nearly impossible to start.

I pressed ‘Play’ again and winced. The editors had chosen all the worst examples of people chopping bits off themselves, getting stuff in their eyes, and choking on sawdust. It reminded me of my metalwork teacher swearing at me as I dripped blood onto the floor after yet another cut. I held my hands up towards the screen and wiggled my fingers to show that the old tools hadn’t stolen anything that should still be attached.

The show ended with the usual ‘we’re safer now’ messages and statistics on how much money the hospitals saved because they didn’t have to treat ‘self-inflicted’ lifestyle injuries.


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