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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
City of Schemes by Bill Garwin is an engaging story with strong, relevant themes and well-developed characters. Megan Garrity is a mother and a woman who follows rules meticulously. When she receives an email with an offer that includes a house, employment, and possible programs for Nick, she accepts it with no hesitation. Moving to Norcal is exciting, but she has not taken the time to process the full implications of the offer. This part of North California is designed to be a testing ground for a new technology, and residents have the choice to either relocate in two years with the help of the government or to stay forever. Those relocating to the area receive a chip, embedded into their bodies, which serves to create an invisible boundary. The program quickly falls into the wrong hands, and Megan and other people find themselves caught up in a game of corruption, a power tussle, and life-threatening situations. Can she navigate through this complicated world, reconnect with Nick who has been torn away from her, and experience freedom?
This is a novel with strong characters, including Brodrick, Walrus, Megan, Nick, Stephanie, Crystal, and others. The key characters are fully drawn, and readers will want to follow Megan and Walrus, a man described as being famous for one-night-stands. Bill Garwin uses his interest in Megan, as well as Brodrick’s, to create suspense that spices up the plot. The story is about possibilities and explores what future technology can be like and how digital technology can be used for stronger control of humanity. This book has a message that will resonate powerfully with contemporary readers, especially those who subscribe to the idea that the wealthy can control the population with the use of embedded chips. The writing is excellent and it features descriptions that capture the details of the settings and focused scenes. Bill Garwin’s novel is engaging, fast-paced, with humor written into characters that are memorable. City of Schemes is an intriguing read.