** - Dare to Know
DARE TO KNOW JAMES KENNEDY **
Dark Matter meets Annihilation in this mind-bending and emotional speculative thriller set in a world where the exact moment of your death can be predicted—for a price.
Our narrator is the most talented salesperson at Dare to Know, an enigmatic company that has developed the technology to predict anyone’s death down to the second. Divorced, estranged from his sons, and broke, he's driven to violate the cardinal rule of the business by forecasting his own death day. The problem: his prediction says he died twenty-three minutes ago.
The only person who can confirm its accuracy is Julia, the woman he loved and lost during his rise up the ranks of Dare to Know. As he travels across the country to see her, he’s forced to confront his past, the choices he's made, and the terrifying truth about the company he works for.
Highly ambitious and totally immersive, this adrenaline-fueled thriller explores the destructive power of knowledge and collapses the boundaries between reality, myth, and conspiracy as it races toward its shocking conclusion.
THE REVIEW **
Dare to Know bills itself as an ‘adrenaline-fueled thriller’ that gave me serious Minority Report vibes as I read the blurb. A man who is able to 100% accurately predict when people will die finds an issue with his date of death and races against the clock to work out what this means for civilisation as we know it.
Marketing companies for books have to be so careful with what they promise. I’ve lost count of the amount of times a tagline has told me a book is ‘hilarious’ which has made me resent it even more for not making me smile, or a thriller tells me about the ‘mind-blowing’ twist on its cover which then sets me up for second guessing everything I get told and I either guess it really early, or picture a new and different twist that would have worked a lot better than what I was ultimately presented with. Dare to Know falls into this trap completely. We are promised an ‘adrenaline-fueled thriller’ and yet what we get is a very slow-moving character driven sci-fi plot filled with a lot of physics and philosophical debate. On the one hand its an interesting story but it was certainly not what I was expecting from the blurb and meant that I walked away disappointed.
Not much happens in Dare to Know; the story is focussed around the main character and we find out everything about him in flashback; from his childhood, to his Uni days, to his work history and all of his relationships with his wife, childhood sweetheart and mistresses. These stories are intertwined with present day - a slow moving narrative of him finding out what day he is due to die and going to visit his ex-girlfriend to corroborate the story. There’s some funny wit in the writing style and also some really good concepts which make you think about the world we live in and the consequences of being able to predict when someone will die.
I was on board and understanding the plot until I got to the last quarter of the book (from meeting the lady in the hotel room) and then it all got very weird, very quickly. I found myself racing through the pages to try and work out what was going on and the ending left me very confused. From suddenly going from being too slow, the plot raced ahead in a very jarring transition that I didn’t enjoy and didn’t make very much sense.
Overall Dare to Know asks some interesting questions but goes from being very slow and a bit boring, to fast paced but rambling and confusing. Thank you to NetGalley & Quirk Books for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
LINKS TO BUY