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The Minders


The Minders

In the not-too-distant future, governments must take extra measures to stay one step ahead of the extremely skilled hackers who can access any data they want at any time. The solution that John Marrs comes up with in his latest novel, THE MINDERS, will quite literally blow your mind.

The book opens in clandestine fashion as an employee of a nameless high-security organization watches a monitor that shows a driverless lorry traveling around the UK. It proceeds to get attacked by drones and a helicopter, and then is driven off a bridge in flames. This vehicle, along with other modes of transportation such as trains and ships, was being used to carry high-level, top-secret information in order to physically keep it out of the hands of enemies or ruthless hackers. Clearly this method failed.

"No one is who they claim to be in THE MINDERS, and John Marrs has more than a few surprises up his sleeve before this highly unique novel comes to an end."

We then get to experience, in redacted replay, a meeting involving the British Prime Minister, the head of MI5, and the rest of the joint cyber-espionage/intelligence committee. The wild solution they come up with is to delete all important information from computers and any physical storage, and instead start injecting it into a group of select individuals in a form that is both removable and self-destructing after five years --- all in an effort to stay one step ahead of the Hacking Collective.

An ad is posted requesting that people try to pass a difficult test. For the 1% who succeed, a committee will then decide on a small number of guinea pigs for this new program. Let’s meet this special group known as the Minders: Flick, a sad and lonely single woman whose DNA data choice for a soul mate ended up being an infamous serial killer with whom she once had been obsessed; Charlie, a loner who has seen all of his friends get married and start families while he sits in his apartment eating takeout and watching soccer matches; Sinead, a browbeaten wife who is still recovering from losing her infant due to her own neglect; Emilia, a young lady who wakes up with no memory in some sort of hospital, not knowing the role she will play in this Minders game; and Bruno, a depressed man with a lot of anger over losing his wife, who was killed during an act of deceit that kept him from receiving any life insurance or settlement payout to cover him and his autistic son.

The Minders are sent to live in new cities with the opportunity to start their lives over. The only exceptions are Bruno and Emilia, who each have different agendas. Bruno is killing, one at a time, the people involved in the judgment against him for his wife’s life insurance. Emilia is told by a complete stranger at the hospital that her husband is a lie and she needs to get away. She does and runs directly into the arms of the enemy for whom she then becomes an assassin, seeking to destroy the other Minders.

As the Minders begin to get picked off one by one, as well as the government liaison who is spearheading their mission, things run off the tracks rather quickly. In addition, the participants may have their own secrets and personal vices that are counter-productive to the role for which they were selected. While the government scrambles to locate the remaining Minders who are now on the run, the Hacker Collective and other unknown enemies draw closer.

No one is who they claim to be in THE MINDERS, and John Marrs has more than a few surprises up his sleeve before this highly unique novel comes to an end.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 5, 2021

The Minders
by John Marrs