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**Spoiler-free Review** 

‘Click here to start your life again.’
‘Less than one percent of the British population can solve this puzzle. Can you?’

The Minders by John Marrs is gripping! It’s so incredibly intense; a twisted roller coaster so fast-paced you literally cannot move or attempt to do anything else. Once again John Marrs teases with a chapter from each main character, which in its very own way ends in an ‘OMG what?!’ before moving on to the next character’s chapter. You feel like you’re racing a gauntlet of cliff-hangers, waiting to make a thrilling discovery for each character, but really you’re racing to know their ultimate fate in the race against cyber-terrorism.

 “DNA is a single molecule that stores all the data that makes us who we are as individuals. But we can now turn anything into code, even voices and images. A limitless amount can be stored onto a single strand of DNA, the equivalent of seventy billion floppy disks…The DNA will be stored inside a plastic bead and injected into lesser used sections of their brains where the contents will disperse and can only be retrieved in a laboratory procedure…”

John Marrs has a unique formula and it’s magnificent in its perfection. We have loved every single book this Author has written and whilst The Minders is a complete standalone, we highly recommend reading The One and The Passengers, not only are they both brilliant five-star reads, but they’re also very much linked to The Minders.  So who are the characters that had us so utterly compelled in The Minders?

‘She had not been a bitter person…Her glass had mostly been half-full and positively overflowing…’

Flick is pretty much living the life of a recluse after a horrifying discovery. Emotionally disturbed at her DNA match with a dead serial killer finds her living in darkness and dependant on addictive stimulus to avoid the outside. Flick is an interesting character and perhaps the one we connected with the most. She questions herself constantly and harbours feelings of self-loathing at consequences out of her control, leading to her obsessive behaviour.

‘He wondered how many other Minders there were and if, like him, they’d taken advantage… He felt like a completely new man because that’s exactly what he was.’

Charlie is anxiety-ridden, a tragic and harrowing experience has left him friendless, lonely and incapable of feeling heightened emotions, other than those of deep despair. Charlie wants to feel something other than regret and guilt. We really felt for him as he came across as a nice bloke who tried too hard to be liked and feel part of something, but Charlie lost his way to his own insecurities and self-professed flaws.

‘And he began to calmly wonder, if he couldn’t feel physical or emotional pain, just how much of his old self remained? Who was he now?’

Emily is desperate to find out who she is after suffering a complete memory loss. She knows she’s being followed and that people are after her, but why? Emily was a conundrum to us as we just couldn’t figure out where she fitted in, and in a way, we felt almost protective of her character throughout the chapters.

‘She speculated as to how many other Minders there were. Had they started off as broken as her? Had they required as much rebuilding as she had?’

Sinead lives in a state of numbness from increasing emotional abuse at the hands of her husband. He controls her every move and she’s desperate to break free. She lives in permanent guilt and feels defeated but has an inner spark yet to be extinguished. We rooted for Sinead to find peace.

‘Think positive thoughts…That will keep them quiet.’

Bruno lost his wife when the Hacking Collective orchestrated a sensational hack on driverless cars. He’s been betrayed, and now all he has is his son who needs permanent care. Bruno harbours deep resentment spiralling into uncontrolled hatred. He blames everyone for where his life has ended up.

‘They call these four people the Minders and they’re protecting something that doesn’t belong to them.’

So, what do these ‘random’ people have in common other than the anomaly in their brain resulting in synaesthesia? A bleak existence, a general perception of being misunderstood, loneliness, controlled by their thoughts and by other people. Each one reacting and behaving in their very own unique response to a common enemy and state of mind. Performing a task of great national security whilst finding themselves. A blank slate; a new life.  Becoming pawns in a government initiative to combat the worldwide incapacitation by the Hacking Collective.

“I know who you are! You’re terrorists! You’re the Hacking Collective!”

John Marrs ensures that as readers we bond with every single character, so thoroughly are they fleshed out in this storyline of shocks, thrills and intensity. They may not be perfect, behave with morals or even be particularly admirable people. However, each and every single one of them has a ‘uniquely theirs’ story to tell which we just cannot help connect to and feel the enormity of. Each being turned into a weapon. Perfection in imperfection, their aim is to survive whilst knowing the hidden truth about every single secret the government has kept from the public. The truths the Hacking Collective is desperate to know in order to hold the world hostage.

“…their consciousness will be stripped and rebuilt according to the criteria required for a successful deployment. They will be taught to assess all risks and react accordingly to trust no one, and to die or to kill for their country if necessary.”

We’ve admired the way in which John Marrs writes for years now. But it’s not only his flawless and outstanding writing, it’s his unique and clever take on scientific as well as social issues which are, yes, taken to the next level and may seem somewhat incredible, however, there is no doubt that in each one of his books, the grain of possible truths sparkle like diamonds amongst the dull rocks. It’s not only fascinating but overwhelmingly frightening too. The concept of The Minders should be so incredibly far-fetched in its thrilling and scientifically coded perspective. But is it really? Maybe only John Marrs knows the answer to this as he continuously freaks us out in his sage manner of storytelling!

“It’s a brand new world we are living in and these are difficult times. Would it really do us that much damage if the worst parts of our history were erased?”

Synopsis

Five strangers guard our secrets.
Only four can be trusted…

In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.

Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.

But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…

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