2016 Spotlight: Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad


Publication Date: 19th May from Hodder and Staughton

Source: Review copy

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Lehrer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

Geeky gorgeous shenanigans with a dark heart and a topical subject matter.

That is what I said on Goodreads at the moment I finished Sockpuppet and that is basically what you get. Sockpuppet is both fun and intuitive and bang on the money when it comes to playing on very real fears about privacy in the digital age. Nothing is sarosanct these days. If you have a mobile phone someone probably knows where you are. **puts tin foil hat on**

So that is the concept, then the author stomps all it and constructs an addictive, darkly humerous, very truthful and realistic story – designs his characters perfectly to allow them to shoot little darts of underlying worry into your thought processes – and spits you out the other side determined to never post anything on social media again ever. Then you go on Twitter obviously, to have a chat to all your virtual friends about it. Ah well. Needs must.

I loved Dani, she was incredible and brought most of the geeky gorgeous I referred to above. She is our way into the technical what not and explains it all throughout the narrative with a witty disgregard for the intelligence of others – just what you need when computer wizardry creates the heart of a story and you are a little technophobic (the fact that anyone ever actually gets to read this review is somewhat of a miracle when you take into account my genuine bafflement when it comes to these things)

Then you have Bethany, in a lot of ways your typical politician, determined to save her citizens programme (please don’t let David Cameron read this book for all our sakes) but how far she would be willing to go is an intriguing layer to this already intriguing tale. Add to these two a supporting cast, not all them them actual and a twisty turny story that includes giggly pigs (hey what book wouldn’t be improved by giggly pigs?) a lot of misdirection, classic storytelling and even a bit of a love story – you’ll be hooked, line and sinkered.

I adored it. Different and clever, fun and informative, genuinely surprising at times and with a terrifically insightful eye into current social issues. Thrilling, perfectly paced, character driven and thought provoking (and often very hilarious) this comes highly recommended from me.

If you dare you can find out more here:

Follow the author on Twitter here:

To purchase “Sockpuppet” clickety click HERE


Happy Reading Folks!


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