Colin Versteeg



Review of Head On

18 Apr 2018

First off, I’m convinced that this series would make an exceptional television series or procedural movie. Seriously, NBC or Netflix or somebody should option this. It reads like a deeper Baldacci or Patterson or Lewis book - an incredibly enjoyable crime procedural, just with more depth.

This is really the greatest strength of this book. The world feels lived in, the implications of what’s happening is considered and the plot naturally evolves from it. It truly feels like a crime procedural series that a literary agent in an alternate universe passed over to us. This book should top the NYT best seller list, and I should be able to buy paperback copies of this book in every grocery store, and I’m guessing it’s at the top of AmazonAgora right now.

Unfortunately, I’m not positive that parallel universe sent us a particularly good police procedural. To me, this is the first book where Scalzi’s breezy writing/character development really stood out as a negative - the writing felt like a good fan fiction set in the Lock-In world. The father of the main character is a boring stereotype - the kind, hometown hero athlete who made good. The main characters wealth and his arc as the previous face of his disease feels like a cheap way to avoid truly examining the implications of his metaphorical ACA repeal. There’s also a lot of details that really aggressively date this writing to late 2017. I’m positive that the cryptocurrency and Uber’s business plan references won’t age well.

I deeply hope to see this series continued - I adore the idea of writing an airplane novel or police procedural with some cool hard sci-fi implications. I recommend buying and reading this novel, despite it’s weaknesses I still read it in one sitting.