The Forever Game, a Series-Worthy Thriller by Jeffrey James Higgins

The Bottom Line: DEA Special Agent Adam Locke is a series-worthy action hero whose debut is filled with breathtaking action and a surprisingly exquisite exploration of AI-assisted immortality. 

The Forever Game opens as DEA Special Agent Adam Locke is in Haiti, closing in on John Laguerre, the leader of a massive transnational criminal organization. He figures they’ve got just one chance to “cut the head off the snake.” After an exhilarating infiltration into Laguerre’s compound, they manage to take him alive. 

Locke may be a legend within the DEA, but he soon gives it all up to take care of his dying girlfriend, Effie. To stay close to home while covering expenses, he agrees to take a job at his brother Tommy’s company, Forever Technology. What started as research to understand and access memory in damaged brain tissue is an AI-powered effort to extend human life. 

As author Jeffrey James Higgins soon reveals, the problem with Forever Technology is that people may be willing to kill to get their hands on it. After a scientist dies under suspicious circumstances and Tommy dies in an explosion, Adam finds himself on the suspect list while trying to find the killers.

Higgins, author of Furious and Unseen, bolsters his reputation for high-stakes, no-frills drama with this taut thriller. There isn’t an ounce of fat on Higgins’ prose. Nearly every line of dialogue is a gut punch, and yet he can make a landscape come alive with a single high-impact sentence (“The pier was a mishmash of pulleys and taught metal lines, and it smelled of diesel fumes and saltwater.”)

Whether Forever Technology can save Effie is at the forefront of the plot, but Locke is so likable, and so on the ropes, that his day-to-day fight for survival is what makes this a page-turner. There’s no indication yet that Higgins is planning a series, but we would love to see one centered around Locke. As it stands, what separates Locke from the Jack Reachers of the literary landscape is his hearty, seemingly natural exploration into deeper themes. In this case, it’s nothing less than the future of immortality.

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