A review by avanders
The Phone Company by D.L. Snell, David Jacob Knight


Review based on free copy received in exchange for an honest review.

The plot was a big hook for me. Smart phones have advanced so much that they can now do things that seem like magic. Their new apps can diagnose car troubles, detect real-time popularity in a high school, and give an accurate lie detector test for cops, to name just a few. Oh, and yeah, maybe a couple people have reconnected with their dead loved ones as well.

But when the company in charge of the newest, smartest phone out there, the Tether, sets to open a new base in a small town in Montana, one father (Steve) thinks the phones and the Phone Company (PCo) have taken it all a step too far.

Not only do the apps seem to have abilities that defy logic and scientific understanding, but there almost seems to be some sinister plot lurking under the shiny new surface.

First, PCo offers free phones to all faculty and students at the school -- some sort of grant project that allows them to do research, perhaps. Steve declines the use of the fancy new phone---mostly because he is just stuck on his old phone - the phones he and his wife used before she died of cancer five years ago. But because of this decision, he's sort of "sober" while the rest of the town gets sucked under by the amazing new phone and its apps that seem designed JUST FOR YOU.

So yeah, it's a little sci-fi, a little horror, a little lovecraftian paranormal thriller. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I loved the creativity with regard to the apps and how they ended up playing out IRL (in real life ;)). It did drag a little in the 3rd quarter and there seemed to be a little repetition with Steve's a-little-too-slow realization that PCo may be quite a bit more than it appears, but overall, a great read. And just creepy enough to keep me awake late into the night...

FOUR of five stars.