The Sandbox

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Pub Date Jul 25 2023 | Archive Date Nov 09 2023

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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.

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...

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ISBN 9781665041911
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 17 members

Featured Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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