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on 12 August 2002
This book is so pacily written and gripping that I was able to read it in two days flat, only stopping to sleep. it is both a superbly crafted thriller and deep social commentary at the same time posing some pretty harsh questions and forcing us to look very hard at ourselves in a mirror. The concept is simple, 12 contestants on a desert island for a reality tv show (a la Survivor) called '24/7'. They will be watched by over 600 video cameras and relayed to households all over the planet via tv and the internet as the contestants have to perform tasks and win over the audience so that they will not be voted off the island by the viewers and miss out on the ultimate prize, $2 million plus the winners heart's desire. That is what's meant to happen. What actually happens is all the tv crew on the island for the first episode die a painful and hideous death (faces boil and explode - nice) then a voice called 'Control' informs the 12 contestants that they have been infected with a man made super virus, a spin off from Ebola, and every 24 hours they will each be given a syringe containing an antidote. But, the antidote will only work for 24 hours and after the first day the viewers, the public, you, me, your mate and his Granny will vote on someone to be exiled from the island, except exile means death. That pretty much covers what occurs in the opening two chapters of the book. From then on the book does not let up it's pace as the contestants try to stay alive and the President and Navy try their hardest to solve the puzzle of who is Control and why he or she is doing this.
Given that we have so many reality shows on tv these days this book comes as quite a chilling and very possible 'what if'. As the author notes in his postscript what happens in 24/7 is not only possible but very likely to happen. A frightening thought indeed. Worse than that though is the thought that we, as an audience, would watch a programme like this as much as we watch Big Brother now. What does that say about us and our society?
This is one of the questions the Author poses, and before you ask no he does not pose an answer, that is for us as individual readers to do. It certainly gets you thinking though.
This is a tremendously entertaining and thought provoking first novel from an Author who shall have to be watched to see what else he has up his sleeve for his next book.
Well worth a read, especially for all you Big Brother fans out there.
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on 4 May 2003
This book has to be one of the, if not the book I've ever read. I simply could not put this down. I know many people say that about books in reviews (myself included) but if any book is deserved of that title it is this one.
The characters are developed brilliantly with a certain sense of panache.The brief looks at White House politics also really do give this book an extra something.
Fast paced is an under statement -the book rally is a white knuckle ride. I cannot stress strongly enough how much you should all go and buy it! (and no, i don't work for the publishers ;-)
The book should have got six stars. For anyone who has read Hector McDonalds books, u will enjoy this. Just plain and simply - BY THIS BOOK!
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on 23 April 2012
My daughter bought me this as a Christmas present because she knows I like reality TV...

The story itself was a good concept, however the execution was horrendous! I have never read a book with so many holes in the story. There were 12 contestants, 11 days, each day one will die by public vote by not receiving a 24 hour 'cure' provided by 'control'.....2 of the contestants try to escape in a boat and are not in The Vault at the time of the vote, meaning they do not get their cure and should die within minutes.....they don't die, the author seems to forget all about them only to return to them later. One of them is killed by the navy, meaning the contestant count is screwed up but this is not mentioned.

Then you have Tucker, who figures out that all the contestants all represent one sign of the zodiac each and tells this information to Rycroft the creator of the show...who exclaims its not possible and he was part of the selection process and he had no idea. However, the personal challenges the contestants have are all based on their zodiac sign!

There are also pointless characters like Bobby, a child who watches the live feed in his bedroom, he has no significance to the story and is just a page filler...

Then you have the president of US brought into it and you get the impression the whole thing is a cover up by the government...only to learn some Texan senator had some affair with someone that wasn't really explained and you are left scratching your head. Huh? Who did what with whom? I had to read that bit a few times for it to make sense and this 'HUGE' revelation is taken up by half a page....

Oh and don't forget about the helicopter near the end.....its apparently been there all along and one of the contestants happen to be a pilot! How convenient!

I did not have any empathy towards the main characters and there were some totally pointless stories about their past.

Not a very well put together book in my opinion. Totally pointless.
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on 15 August 2002
There is no doubt that with the phenomenon of reality television now reaching its zenith Jim Brown has jumped onto a very populist bandwagon. But as with Ben Elton's Dead Famous he has done it very well. It is a far more serious look at the whole reality television culture and has a number of twists and turns that make it hard to put down. While there seem to be a number of story lines all at once, a mad bomber who hears god being one, Brown brings them all together beautifully for the dramatic climax to his story. It begins with a simple TV show and reaches right to the president without ever seeming too far fetched with the possible exception of a couple of moments in the finale. The book is well crafted and has a number of pressure points that build the almost unbearable tension. There are also a number of moments that will genuinely shock even the most jaded reader because often no matter how well you guess what is about to happen it is never quite right. 24/7 is not for the squeamish as a number of scenes in it paint a less then pleasant picture but this just adds to the all-pervading atmosphere of the story. Without a doubt if you have ever watched reality TV even just dipped in and out this book will hit a nerve and it will be a struggle to put it down. I would recommend this to anybody who is looking for a thriller that has just enough elements of reality to make it a more then believable and worrying tale.
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on 25 September 2006
Storyline was good although obviously written as a screenplay. Written well, three strong hero characters, some scenes didn't work, like did they suddenly discover the helicopter from knowhere? Why didn't the sharks get her? Can a seriously injured man burrow himself underground and the survive for ages without any oxygen as there is a forest fire raging above him.

Plenty of plots though which was nice. The afterword from the author was totally self-indulgent and written purely, in my opinion, to establish himself as a real life Tucker Thorne.

The movie should be good, if they get it right.
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on 16 August 2002
Possibly the best book written this year. I was unable to put this one down and it was read in one straight session. The plotting is excellent and very believable (except a few minor indulgences toward the end). It really does keep you guessing - not really sure that the mad bomber was essential though. I would recommend everyone buys this book.
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on 19 September 2002
I bought this book because i liked watching Survivor on the tele. From the first word this book grips you. It sucks you in to believing that you are one of the contestants yourself. There is no lacking of description to describe the gruesome tales that the contestants are facing and the horror that each one is receiving. What was supposed to turn out a competition to win $2 million dollars is becoming a huge ordeal to save your own life. This is Jim Brown's first novel and i will be looking forward to reading many more of his novels. If you liked big brother and suvivor this book is for you. True tales of suvival.
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on 23 August 2002
A fast, pacy novel published at a very poignant time in today's reality tv obsessed culture.
Plenty of twists and a few "on a knife edge" moments that made you feel like you were the one trying to survive on the island.
Not a humourous book but at the same time the survival instinct made you forget that peoples lives were in danger.
A highly recommended read, but clear that social diary for a couple of nights!
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