Have you ever wondered how much information about you just exists out in the world? How easy that information would be for anyone to access? Well, I am wondering now after reading Anthony McCarten’s latest release, Going Zero.
Unassuming Boston librarian Kaitlyn Day has been selected as one of ten Beta testers for FUSION - the latest in surveillance technology the CIA has created in partnership with Silicon Valley royalty Cy Baxter. At the appointed time, all participants receive a text telling them to “Go Zero” and go off the grid. Anyone who successfully evades capture for the allotted 30 days will receive a hefty payout. Kaitlyn is expected to be the first to be captured, but her ability to disappear surprises everyone and her reasons for participating are more personal than anyone could have imagined.
The whole idea of going off grid and not accessing any technology is an absolute horror story for this elder millennial, but reading about it sounds like a blast and that it was! Though this story involves the CIA and surveillance tech, I never really expected it to be action-packed and leave me on the edge of my seat. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong and that it really read like a spy movie.
The story jumps between the Beta testers (with a special focus on Kaitlyn) and FUSION headquarters. In this way, we are able to get into the minds of both sides of this giant, high stakes game of hide-and-seek. Each chapter starts with how much time is left until the Beta test ends, which lends urgency to the story and keeps the reader deeply invested.
Each of the characters we are introduced to feel like fully fleshed out characters. They have defined personalities and clear motivations for their actions. In addition, McCarten is able to give each character shades of grey. Even if you don’t agree with a character’s actions, you can understand where they are coming from. Nothing in this world is just black or white and it causes you to re-evaluate a lot of things.
Just like with any spy movie, there’s a twist and it definitely took me by surprise. It wasn’t one that was just thrown in just to have a surprise and I felt like it deepened my investment into the story as a whole. While I can appreciate a plot-driven story, I am a character-driven story kind of reader at my core and McCarten throwing in a twist to bring it back to the characters was deeply appreciated (though the plot was just as intriguing).
Going Zero by Anthony McCarten is available now and you can get your own copy here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!