Book Review: The Passengers – John Marrs

Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs
Publisher: Del Rey, Penguin Random House
Publication date: 30th May 2019 (Pb), 1st April 2019 (eBook)


When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

Taken from the The Passengers


In the not too distant future, eight people enter their driverless cars for their journeys to be interrupted by someone only identified as The Hacker. Their ‘hacker-proof’ cars are hijacked and they are no longer on their way to their predefined destinations, but to one common place, at which time all but one of them will die in a horrific collision with the other hijacked cars.

It is up to a panel of government employees, one member of the public, and the world of social media to decide who lives and who dies. They are The Passengers.

An observant and relevant book, The Passengers sends an early warning about autonomous vehicles, and examines the idea of trusting the government with the regulation of machines in whose digital hands we place our lives.

With a host of diverse characters, John Marrs is brutal in confronting his readers with the reality of our conscious and unconscious biases, and how readily people are prepared to sacrifice others on the basis of their own prejudices.

The Passengers is a commentary on the society we live in now and what it may be in the future, as well as the impact of social media on our thought processes and value for life. It also serves as a reminder to challenge what we think we know; there are two sides to every story.

The multi-faceted plot is something to behold; I defy anyone to claim they are able to predict the twists and turns that lead this book to be both thrilling and horrifying. Book groups will undoubtedly have endless discussions about the horrors which lie in wait in this well-conceived and satisfying psychological thriller.

Many thanks to Del Rey (Penguin Random House) for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Comment below

What do you think of The Passengers? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.


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