A programmer learns that the incessant hum in her ears is just one sign of an extraordinary ability in this thriller.
Lilly Hoffnung has made a living and a name for herself as a highly skilled programmer. Though she generally prefers working with established people and deep pockets, she has genuine affection for the company Exousía and its product. But the interactive, artificial intelligence, home management, and security system has a defect: It’s locking people out of their homes. Lilly is unfortunately distracted as she scours the code for a bug. The hum she’s been hearing for the last couple of years is now accompanied by headaches, and she’s shaken by a hum-afflicted colleague’s suicide. One night, when her pain is unbearable, Lilly somehow makes the hum and headaches stop. Soon a man in her dreams, claiming to be a friend, offers to help her through an apparent “transition”—involving her newfound supernatural ability. Lilly isn’t the only one with this particular talent; in fact, she encounters a group invested in studying the phenomenon. What follows is a visit to a secured headquarters for Lilly to get some answers, so long as she can survive one individual’s unforeseen, heinous intention. Schumer’s (SEAL Catch, 2017, etc.) novel is a commendable introduction to the protagonist for a prospective series. Lilly is shrewd, adept, and entangled in diverting romantic subplots. These involve unwanted advances from fellow developer Ted Hendre and interactions with friend Jim Kinard, a potential lover. Despite the steady progress of Lilly’s supernatural discoveries, the shift in the final act is jarring, suddenly introducing a villain and corresponding peril. But there are likewise tantalizing hints of espionage and that Lilly’s ability could be used as a tool or even a weapon, all of which can be expanded in future installments. And Schumer’s writing is sharp, as when the pain of Lilly’s headaches is palpably described: “It focused, narrowed to a fine point, then pierced her temple like an ice pick.”
Forges a sensational protagonist and an engaging story with plenty of opportunities to evolve.