Cover Image: The Assistant

The Assistant

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Member Reviews

I had this book down as a DNF and I wasn’t going to leave feedback. Upon reflection after reading some very favourable reviews I decided to give it another go. Whilst I didn’t love I am glad I persevered. A chilling read that will wile away the hours.
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anuary 11th 2020

This is the second book I have read by S. K. Tremayne and I don’t think this author is for me. 

We follow Jo is recently divorced and has moved into a friends spare room in a high tech flat basically rent free. The house is managed by the home assistant called Electra which basically takes care of everything and sometimes Jo turns to Electra for company. 
And one day Electra says one sentence ‘I know what you did’ only two people know Jo’s secret, could they be behind this? 

This book was slow even though I listened to the audiobook on 2x speed I felt like it took ages to get through this story. 
I didn’t like Jo at all, the terrible thing she done in the past wasn’t all that shocking and didn’t have me thinking ‘omg’ 

That’s two books now by this author I haven’t enjoyed so I don’t think I’ll be picking anymore up. 

*nothing against the author it’s just not for me*
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I absolutely loved this book! Beautifully written! I can’t wait to see more from this fantastic author.
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Book blurb…

What would you do if your home assistant turned evil?
She’s in your house. She controls your life. Now she’s going to destroy it.
She watches you constantly.
Newly divorced Jo is delighted to move into her best friend’s spare room almost rent-free. The high-tech luxury Camden flat is managed by a meticulous Home Assistant, called Electra, that takes care of the heating, the lights – and sometimes Jo even turns to her for company.
She knows all your secrets.
Until, late one night, Electra says one sentence that rips Jo’s fragile world in two: ‘I know what you did.’ And Jo is horrified. Because in her past she did do something terrible. Something unforgivable.
Now she wants to destroy you.
Only two other people in the whole world know Jo’s secret. And they would never tell anyone. Would they? As a fierce winter brings London to a standstill, Jo begins to understand that the Assistant on the shelf doesn’t just want to control Jo; it wants to destroy her.

My thoughts...

Terrifyingly plausible plot and it’s scary that an author can come up with this!! All you Alexa and Siri lovers should read this one!

Well-paced, the story is constantly moving forward as each new level of control and destruction of Jo’s life is revealed.  

With most scenes contained to Jo’s apartment, I was transported into an English winter.  (And right now, surrounded by smoke and heat in NSW, that was kind of nice)

The characters were well written and I had a good sense of how they were related to each other.  Jo was the main character and I so felt for her and what was happening to her life.

I did not warm to her flatmate at all who was supposed to be her best friend.  She was well written however I wanted to yell at Jo to get out of the flat and go and live somewhere else.

Riveting - in a ‘could this really happen’ way, which I really enjoy. This genre (not sure if it has a name) scares me but I guess I also hope these stories, like The Handmaid’s Tale, and the TV series Years and Years with Emma Thompson (watch it!) also make us rethink.
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A chilling, psychological thriller. My first read by this author but I will be reading more. A thought provoking read with a trilling well delivered story and one I highly recommend you pick up and read yourself.
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I knew it! This is exactly why I don't have any kind of digital home help - I don't even talk to Siri. It feels good to have my reluctance validated, in this story of home assistants gone rogue.

It's just after Christmas, in the coldest winter Britain has experienced since the 60s, and we are in the London borough of Camden. Here, newly divorced and almost homeless, freelance journalist Jo Ferguson has gratefully accepted her best friend's invitation to move into the spare room of her luxury flat on Delancey St. It can get lonely at times because Tabitha's rarely there, but Jo can always chat with Electra, the digital home assistant, when she gets bored. Electra looks after everything - the wi-fi, heating, lights, music, reminders, alarms, weather forecasts and answers to cheeky trivia questions - and with a device in almost every room, all Jo has to do is speak and Electra will take care of it. And then one day, Electra mentions something it (she?) couldn't possibly know about. Jo thinks it's a glitch, or she's overtired or something, but as the days pass Electra's menacing behaviour continues and escalates.

Jo begins to doubt her own sanity. After all, her father took his own life after a late diagnosis of schizophrenia. Her mother assures her it wasn't genetic, but Jo's own recollections of that dark time in her childhood include a beloved father who became a frightening version of himself after the TV began talking to him.

This is a very timely thriller, as we become more and more reliant upon technology to create a smooth path through our busy lives. It delivers a gradual, tense buildup to a heart-racing climax that may have you looking sideways at your Google Nest. It's a highly entertaining read, but I must qualify this review with the admission that, fairly early in the story, I chose to read it as a tongue-in-cheek kind of thriller, rather than a straight one. I thought it was a bit too OTT to be intended for straight thrills.
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This book was all about technology and how much we rely on it. Very creepy and it had compulsive reading. I didn't want to put it down.
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The Assistant by SK Tremayne is a realistic and creepy story.  Whilst reading this I was thinking about how easy it would be these days - everything is run on technology and we rely on it so heavily.  Set in the worst winter that London has seen for years this book is sinister and dark and will get under your skin. Who or what can you trust? They are always watching, and listening.

Jo is a recently divorced journalist who is struggling to make ends meet in London.  So when her best friend Tabitha offers her spare room to her for next to nothing she jumps at the chance.  It is a modern, luxury apartment in the trendy Camden Town.  The place is controlled by the home assistant Electra so does everything from answer questions to turning the lights on and off.  And all is going well until one night when the assistants tell Jo "I Know What You Did" .  Because Jo does have an awful secret that only 2 other people know about.  How does the technology know?  Things escalate quickly from there and Jo is in the fight for her life to prove that she is not going mad and that her life is in danger. How is this happening?? And can she stop it before it is too late?

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read.  All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
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Do you think Google or Facebook listens to you? The Assistant cleverly taps into speculation about this with a story of a woman convinced her home assistant (Electra) is listening to her. Even worse, Jo's convinced Electra is telling her to do things ... questionable things. Things that turn her friends against her. And then things start happening, and Jo's life spins out of control and you have to keep turning the pages to find out who's right, wrong, real and fake. It's a tense and creepy ride! 

If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, read this. And maybe switch off Google Home ...
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This is the first book I read from S.K. Tremayne   and I definitely will read his other books. The Assistant is a very dark creepy thriller story and you won't be able to put it down
Jo is living in Tabitha's apartment which home assistant is part of the bundle. 
How her life is being turned upside down and terrorised by her home assistant, (Electra) is just so creepy. But who is behind this terror, and why? You'll never expect for this. Totally recommend this book if you are a thriller story lover.
Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Publishers for the advance digital read of this book.
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This is a clever, dark and creepy thriller depicting what can happen when AI goes rogue! It might make you think twice about installing a home assistant or looking sideways at the one you already have to check if it's watching you.

The narrator, Jo Ferguson is a recently divorced freelance journalist, struggling to make a living in London so when her best friend Tabitha offers her a spare room in her luxury Camden flat she jumps at it. Tabitha's flat is controlled by voice activated home assistants (similar to Alexa) and Jo soon becomes used to asking them for details of the weather or to turn on electrical devices. As Tabitha is away most of the time, she asks Jo never to turn them off so that she can check that all is okay when she's not there. However, when the Assistant starts talking to Jo, telling her terrible things about herself only two other people should know, she wonders whether she is developing the same mental illness that drove her father to commit suicide. As the threats escalate, Jo becomes more and more isolated and distraught as no one believes that the Assistants are talking to her.

The plot has a slow build up but then becomes gripping as Jo becomes frustrated as she struggles to get her friends to listen to her and her persecution is ramped up by the Assistant and her phone and laptop are hacked. Set during one of the worst winters London has known, the atmosphere is cold and sinister as Jo becomes more and more terrified as her situation spirals out of control. Realistic and frightening!
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I have read all S.K. Tremayne’s books and this was sufficiently creepy to scare me off any of those smart home help technologies.
Jo Ferguson, a freelance journalist is recently divorced and low on funds after a big holiday overseas when she gratefully accepts the offer of cheap rent in her best friend’s flat in high end Camden.
The flat is wired with a techo home help device/app called Electra. With her friend Tabitha away a lot, she suddenly starts hearing menacing  voices and music played. With a guilty conscience and a family history of mental illness is Jo going mad, or is someone trying to make her lose her mind?

I throughly enjoyed this book which kept me guessing until the end. In fact, the last quarter of the book had me with heart in mouth most of the time.
It makes me wonder if many of the smart technologies are closer than we think, I know we have some now days but I think I’m happy with only a smart phone for now.....

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to read.
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5 Stars - Wow! Terrifyingly brilliant! 

What happens when tech goes wrong and takes over your life and nobody believes you?  This is a ghost story, but the ghost is in the machine, and it knows your secrets... 
Recently divorced and socially isolated in her friend's modern apartment in the middle of a teeth-gritting harsh winter, Jo is trapped in a box of high-tech insanity, with her new trusty Home Assistant, quietly observing...
Jo has to fight back against all odds, and survive the ghosts terrifying intrusions..

"Going back to Google made things so much easier: let one or two big tech companies run your life, and then everything in your life fits together, from your calendar [...] to your phone. You yield happily to their dominance, their intrusion, their notifications and nannying. They become parents, you become the child."

I was glued to the pages. Such a clever story, kept me guessing all the way to the very end. Every twist and discovery was very satisfying. It's a story of the consequences and terrors of modern convenience, and ultimately, survival.

Highly recommended read!

Thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins Publishers Australia and the author for this free ARC for a review!
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The Assistant
By S.K. Tremayne

5 stars. 

A fast-moving psychological thriller, that is near impossible to put down. 

Our world is adopting more and more technology into our lives. The technology is getting smarter and smarter. What if, the technology started to think and make decisions to take over our lives.

Newly divorced Jo is delighted to move into her best friend’s spare room almost rent-free. The high-tech luxury flat is managed by a meticulous Home Assistant, called Electra, that takes care of the heating and the lights.

Then, Electra starts tormenting Jo. What starts as a drunken haze soon escalates. 

An intriguing plot, that builds tension around some believable characters and situations. With twists and mystery surrounding who is behind the tormenting, the book will have you second guessing our dependence on technology.

This title has been reviewed by 

This title was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an open and honest review.

#TheAssistant       #NetGalley
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