by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson
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Pub Date 25 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 08 Aug 2023
An activist entrepreneur, a maligned AI, and a newly minted homicide detective with a haunted past catastrophically intersect in The Sandbox. Silence of the Lambs meets Ex Machina in this groundbreaking techno-thriller that redefines the meaning of murder in the twenty-first century.
When the CEO of the world’s leading artificial intelligence company is found murdered in his home, former Army CID officer Valerie Marks is thrust into her first case as a homicide detective. Valerie has a gift for reading people, a gift that has never failed her before. But that gift is put to the test when her instincts point her to an impossible suspect—an AI born from a secret venture with the Pentagon known as Project Nomad.
To learn the truth, Valerie must team up with two men she doesn’t trust—a Green Beret turned government spook from the Pentagon, and the victim’s former partner and leading suspect in the case. But nothing can prepare the trio for the dangers that await them and the existential threat to humanity if the Project Nomad AI has somehow escaped its sandbox.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 17 members
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..
Full review to be posted on https://www.bestthrillerbooks.com/Kashif-Hussain
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.
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!
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.
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!