Shattered Minds by Laura Lam is the second of her Pacifica novels. It isn’t a sequel to False Hearts but it does have links between the two. Shattered minds is a tense thriller with a cast of flawed characters. Lam conjures a tense yet vibrant world and creates characters the reader can empathise with even when they are dark.
Carina is an ex neuroscientist with a dark secret. A zeal addict on the slippery slope to oblivion when one of her ex-colleagues, Mark hacks her zealscape to give her information about her old company Sudice. She knows he must already be dead.
This is fast paced and feels quite cyberpunk. Its also very dark, Carina’s murderous tendencies can make for difficult reading but even knowing what she is there is still room to root for her and to want her to succeed in taking down Sudice and especially her old boss Roz.
There is a lot going on in this novel. There is a diverse cast of characters who narrate chapters and the whole picture is revealed to the reader in a tease. It grabs you instantly and then refuses to let you go. The dynamic and symmetry between the characters of Roz and Carina is fascinating as is the relationship between Dax and Carina.
Given the subject matter this isn’t going to be a novel that everyone is going to enjoy but I find all of Laura Lam’s work enjoyable to read and I think she raises questions as an author we should be thinking about with with eyes to our own future. The idea that one day our brains could be programed is terrifying and is explored throughly.