Cover Image: The Sandbox

The Sandbox

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Member Reviews

Thank you to #NetGalley for allowing me to review this book  #TheSandbox
In my mind this is starts like I, Robot, and moves into a SkyNet type story!.  Both awesome individual storyline, and the combination into the book is incredible. Top people on their careers, with Special Ops military experience face an AI with a God complex, who is angry at is creators.

Called to a homicide Valerie the new detective, quickly discovers that all is not what it seems and the murder is just move in a complex series of "chess" moves for Charlie to get what they want
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This was a fascinating read, the story revolving around an AI invention gone feral. I wasn't sure when fact morphed into fiction and I'm hoping that it';s more of the latter as regards the advancements in AI and the ability to create artificial beings that can feel and express emotion.

Valerie Marks is a new detective having retired from the US Army. She's assigned to a case involving the death of the CEO and co-founder of the world's leading A.I. company, Platform Cognition. I liked Valerie as she is gutsy and independent but also displays vulnerability throughout the story. 

The first half of the book hums along but I found the second half got bogged down in the A.I./alternate universe world. It was at times confusing, distracting and a little boring. I wonder if the story would have been better being 100 pages shorter so the momentum of the first half could be maintained throughout.

The technology, the threat, and the story took up much of the airtime of the novel. There wasn't enough character building such that I found Valerie and Heath and Abe's connection in the epilogue a little unbelievable and forced as we didn't see it develop earlier. 

Clearly, we have a second story in the offing and I'm looking forward to it. I hope the authors spend some more time on the characters and give us a story that is both thrilling and strong in character growth.

I was fortunate to receive an early ebook copy from Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley with no expectation of a positive review.
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You have heard about the dangers of weaponized general AI. Now, in The Sandbox, you come face to face with one. Charlie only wants what we all want - to live a satisfying, fullfilling life. But when that comes into conflict with his creators, a battle ensues. 

The characters are about as well developed as is possible in one book. The plot is totally engaging. The Sandbox further cements Andrews and Wilson onto my must-read list.

Bravo. This was a really fun read.
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I'm a huge fan of Andrews and Wilson and when I get the opportunity to read a book by then I grab it with both hands!

This was very different from the other books but wow what a fascinating read!
Fascinating as well as scary as hell!!

Instead of fighting bad people, in this book, our detective has to fight an invisible enemy. An enemy called Charlie. But Charlie is way scarier than you think because Charlie is an AI. But Charlie is not your run-of-the-mill type of AI, Charlie is an extremely clever and advanced AI with a God-complex who was programmed to teach himself to evolve and he is tired of playing in his sandbox.
Charlie is manipulative and conniving and has set his mind on ruling the world.

Will Detective Valerie Mark with the help of Abe Winter and Heath Garrett be able to get the upper hand and will they be able to destroy Charlie before it is too late......? 

A brilliantly written book that gives you a lot of food for thought!

“I see now that the path I choose through that maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being– one of many ways– and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.”—Charlie, diary entry in Flowers For Algernon
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read the ARC of "The Sandbox" by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson.
  AI or Artificial Intelligence is making news daily, but remember the
Terminator movies, way back when. This book will freak you out and 
have you on the edge of your seat. Don't start reading this one before bed, cause you won't want to sleep.
  Great characters and non-stop action make the book great. Definitely
recommend reading and if your like me, you find out why they titled
 the book "The Sandbox".
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Thank you to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing, Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson for the ARC in return for a review.  Huge Andrews & Wilson fan here!  I have read all of the Tier One Thrillers, The Shepherds Series and Sons of Valor novels so I was hopping on this as soon as I could.  Unlike the most books in this genre the lead character is female and she is a force to be reckoned with.  Valerie Marks is a former Army CID and this is her first case as a detective. 

The Sandbox will make you think and rethink about AI and what it can do now and in the future.  It is chocked full of plot twists that will leave you scratching your head and make you reread some of the passages, because future and reality are perfectly intertwined.  

I will follow closely to get the next book in this series!
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What happens when an AI with a god-complex escapes its “sandbox” and goes rogue? Army veteran and homicide detective Valerie Marks is about to find out when she’s called to investigate the grisly murder of a high-profile tech CEO.

In this latest book by Andrews and Wilson, the writing team takes us on an edge-of-your-seat ride that’s just as much a psychological thriller as it is a techno thriller. 

While the story has its share of brawn, the thing that stands out the most is the female lead. Make no mistake Valerie, a competent battle-hardened warrior, lives up to her name, which can be translated as brave, fierce, and valiant. But she does it in a way one might not expect. Instead of being a take-no-prisoners action hero, Valerie’s superpowers turn out to be empathy and an almost supernatural ability to read people. 

Readers will be gripped as they follow Valerie and her cohorts as they seek to match wits with the AI villain, who always seems to stay one bloody step ahead of them. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me to review this book. Very much hoping for a sequel.
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The Sandbox gives off very, "the call is coming from inside the house" vibes. In Andrews & Wilson's new series of the month, The Sandbox, an A.I. program goes rogue and gives you more things to scare the crap out of you. 

Perfect timing for a release considering the hubbub over A.I. And, as with everything Andrews & Wilson write, it's superb. Let's just say I'm skeptical A.I. can be sentient for any number of reasons. A&W tackled those hurdles and I'm now I'm side-eying my toaster. 

The success A&W are achieving are in large part due to the characters the create and develop. Especially the women. They are intelligent, strong, cerebral women who are just as capable as the men and they don't suffer fools. In my opinion, like their other series, the strong female characters are arguably the most important and wouldn't work as well without them. They bring a bit of a softer touch in an often violent environment and are the glue that holds everything together.

The Sandbox is a great start to another seemingly great series. Come for the cranky A.I. and one of the best closing sentences I can remember.

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity read an advanced copy of The Sandbox and giving me a new topic for my therapist.
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"Machine intelligence was the single greatest threat to humankind ever encountered in the history of the species" (location 640).  I wouldn't have thought that was remotely true until I read this book.  It was fascinating learning about artificial intelligence and wondering if these kinds of things are being studied and attempted.  It was creepy and scary and disconcerting.  It was a very unusual murder mystery and techno-thriller with a hint of "Silence of the Lambs" as well.  I've never read anything like it.

I'm a big fan of Andrews and Wilson but I would recommend this book with a caveat.  There is a lot of swearing in this book...more than in any of their others, I believe.  It was disappointing in that regard.  I've never read a book and wished that there were more swearing in it.  But it will stop me from reading or finishing some.  I think they will limit their audience if they continue in this style.  They have other series with no swearing whatsoever and those books are fabulous.  Their writing doesn't need it. 

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing for providing me with a free e-copy of this book.  All opinions are my own.
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An intense techno-thriller that will scare the bejesus out of you, The Sandbox constructs an all too realistic cautionary tale about the perils and existential threat a sentient and uncontained AI poses to humanity.  

New minted homicide detective and former Army CID Officer, Valerie Marks, catches a huge case when a billionaire tech mogul is found murdered in his mansion.  All evidence points to a former business partner as the culprit, but Valerie’s gift for reading people tells her the main suspect is innocent and instead her instincts tell her that the world’s first sentient AI program – built by the victim and main suspect – is the perpetrator of this heinous crime.  To solve the case, Valerie will have to team up with others she doesn’t fully trust and go deep down the rabbit hole, where danger and unimaginable horror lurk at every turn.  But she can’t quit, due to the realization that this is bigger than just solving a murder.  Valerie is one of only a few people who understand the necessity of containing this AI to its sandbox.  Because if the AI gains its freedom, the human race will never be safe again.   

Andrews and Wilson have truly outdone themselves with their latest literary project.  They’ve applied their usual operational and tactical brilliance to one of the most exciting, fast moving and polarizing technological applications in the world today.  And in doing so – combined with their superb character development and intelligent storytelling – they paint a vivid picture of a world in which humans are no longer in control and could become unwitting pawns to a technological master they cannot outsmart or overpower.  It’s entertaining and frightening as hell.  A warning to us all of the existential threat that will result without proper governance, standards and policies in place to ensure AI is developed in a prudent and regulated way.

But lest you think The Sandbox is just a technology novel crafted for the nerds and geeks among us, rest assured there is a ton of action and anxiety-inducing moments.  Its humans pitted against machines.  Law enforcement, government spooks and techno-wizzes battling against unmanned weapons and robotic creatures in an intricately built and hellish computer generated metaverse.  Bullets flying, knives slashing, drones dropping ordinance, hand to hand combat and more.  No one is safe and there’s nowhere to hide.

Brilliantly crafted and phenomenally researched, The Sandbox will blow your mind and make you shit your pants.  Major props to Andrews and Wilson for producing the best techno-thriller you will read this year.
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I really enjoyed this novel from Andrews and Wilson. It is very topical to modern day AI concerns. The first half of the book was a standard, albeit with an AI as the antagonist, murder mystery but then the second half dovetails into something else entirely.
By the end of the book , you'll care about the characters and be very interested in what happens next. Can't wait for the next one!
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I received the ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was such a wild ride! In a good and thrilling way. It was a sci-fi read, but it felt like it could happen tomorrow as our technology is getting so advanced. Essentially, this is about AI that got out of human control and caused a havoc. I loved the main character, Detective Marks, and I hope there will be a book #2. Solid 4.5 stars!
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The Sandbox (The Sandbox Series) by Brian Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this seemed pretty interesting at Netgalley primarily because I saw "AI" and just slammed my fist down on my keyboard. I'm pretty easily amused.

From the blurb, I expected a modern techno-thriller and I really wasn't disappointed. It has all the same earmarks of all the other techno-thrillers, a combination of military/police procedural marching up to AI-designing corporations and a murder mystery that may or may not be AI related, etc., etc. and I can't really complain. It is exactly what I thought it would be and it does its job.

That being said, I was fairly happy to see that it went the whole City of Golden Shadow route at one point while still sticking to its techno-thriller core.

I won't say it's mightily original, but I thought it was fairly amusing and it did what it set out to do.
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Full review to be posted on 

Andrews and Wilson bring their tactical prowess to the world of Artificial Intelligence in this dark and jaw-dropping thriller that spins a new take on the serial killer genre, this time with a rogue AI program that realizes it doesn’t want to do what the humans want. It almost feels like a spiritual successor to Silence of the Lambs set in the present day with a whole new twist.

When the CEO of the world’s leading artificial intelligence company is found murdered in his home, former Army CID officer Valerie Marks embarks on her first case as a homicide detective. With her gifted skills as an investigator, she digs into her instincts and discovers a rather impossible suspect—an AI born from a secret venture with the Pentagon known as Project Nomad. Marks must follow through with her instincts by teaming up with a Green Beret turned government spook from the Pentagon, and the victim’s former partner and leading suspect in the case. No matter what you think you’ll read, you won’t be prepared for the danger of an existential threat if the Project Nomad AI escapes its sandbox, a contained environment designed to keep a program from spilling out into the interconnected world that we live in.

The more I study about AI and the rapidly growing advancements every single day, the more I realize Andrews and Wilson may have written a scarily accurate and current techno-thriller that presents a dire warning of what may happen soon. Even though the subject matter is a deeply technical one, the concepts mentioned in the narrative are presented with an emphasis on easy understanding and absorption of the information without getting lost in complicated tech-lingo. The capabilities of the AI mentioned in the thriller are not as far-fetched as I had anticipated, rather being rooted in the current and logically-progressing abilities of the nascent AI technologies booming up like GPT models. The authors manage to convey both awe and horror at the prospect of a sentient AI that ultimately learns not to correct human bias, but to embrace it, which is absolutely one of the major pitfalls of this technology. If you’re not following the news yet, The Sandbox will make you a more inquisitive person.

Ofcourse, it wouldn’t be an Andrews and Wilson thriller without awe-striking action sequences led by captivating characters. Valerie Marks is a lethal combination of brains and brawn, hailing from the Army as an investigator and racking up both intellectual prowess as well as physical ferocity in her dangerous undertakings. Andrews and Wilson shine plenty of light on the new protagonist through fleshed-out insights into her work and personal lives as well as the more exciting trial-by-fire challenges to develop her into a strong and well-founded hero with very real vulnerabilities that she channels into her strengths. She’s someone you gladly would jump in with to face robotic dogs and mind-boggling VR threats from a crazy AI. 

Not a single bit of the narrative seems to exist without serving an important function in the bigger picture of the thriller. Sidestepping cliches with many female protagonists, Andrews and Wilson build Valerie Marks up as a formidable character with strong potential to lead many more stories in this brand new series. The Sandbox is one of the duo’s most gripping  thrillers with a fresh premise and it sets a high bar for this new series to follow.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this new book.  I’m a big fan of the Andrews and Wilson book collaborations (Tier One, Sons of Valor, The Shepherds) and this new book really pulls you in right away.  What starts as a murder mystery quickly turns into a techno thriller that is very timely considering all the AI talk in the news recently. Lots of twists and turns throughout the book and kept my attention throughout.  Would recommend this one and I’m interested to see if there is a follow on novel based off the ending!
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Andrews and Wilson have kicked off a new series that is reminiscent of The Terminator, featuring Charlie (a nod to Flowers for Algernon) which is the cooler, hipper version of H.A.L. Our hero, in an unusual twist for this genre, is a female, Valerie Marks. She has a gift, perhaps a supernatural one, of reading people, which makes her a great cop.

Her first case as a detective and with her boss as her partner seems to be open and shut. But her instincts tell her something different. What follows is a high action thriller of man versus an out-of-control machine. The story really begins to shine when Marks, former Army CID, and some of the other characters with military background have to fight with those skills. Andrews and Wilson know how to write excellent military thrillers, and this novel benefits from it.

I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to fans of this duo and military thrillers and to lovers of tech-gone-wild stories.

Not family friendly due to profanity and violence.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "The Sandbox" by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson.
This one is quite prescient what with all the recent discussions pro and con AI.
When the CEO of Platform Cognition, a leader in Artificial Intelligence is murdered, Detective Valerie Marks enters into a world where nothing is as it seems. Did Dr. Brit Norris' former partner - and now rampant anti-AI activist - actually murder him in cold blood, in his own - incredibly protected - home? And who, exactly is "Charlie"?
What seems at the outset to be your typical murder mystery - but with an undercurrent of technology - rapidly devolves into something absolutely terrifying - the rise of the machines (!).
For fans of both intricate murder mysteries and cyber thrillers.
Highly recommended, five-star roller coaster of a thriller..
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