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Red Devil 4 by Eric C Leuthardt

Red Devil 4” is the brain child of neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer, Eric C. Leuthardt who in real life heads the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University School of Medicine.  Dr. Leuthardt has written of a world where almost everyone has a computer chip implanted to instantly compute and find information, set environments, music and entertainment selections, control mood, and essentially control the lives of the people living in 2053.  Of course, what people give up in order to have instant information, communication, environmental comforts and other conveniences, is the ability to think and act independently–or at least that is the danger in artificial intelligence when it becomes mind control.   It is the perfect environment for “big brother” to control or for a mistake in the technological model to endanger many lives.  There is much of an ethics nature to consider with the age of artificial intelligence at our door step.

The plot of the book is a series of murders in St. Louis that may be blamed on programming within the implanted chips in some of the area’s most prominent citizens. It appears that a prominent person is behind these murders and the risk exists that the flaw is in the chip not the killer himself.  Will more people go haywire and begin to commit heinous murders?  That is a question detective Edwin Krantz and his ex-Navy SEAL partner, Tara Denzer, are tasked to determine when they go after the serial murderer.  They need to discover answers fast in order to avert a technological mistake that may lead to millions of deaths.

I must admit that the topic is not something I enjoy reading about and I did not complete the book.  However, the book is well-written and chock-full of insights that will keep many a book club discussion going.  “Red Devil 4” is a worthy contribution to the science-fiction and technological thriller genres with a theme that could quickly become technological fact.

Liz Nichols

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