Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

29864658The reality TV show to die for. Literally.

Kerry Drewery’s Cell 7, published in September 2016, sounds like an episode of Black Mirror. The public decides whether a person convicted of a serious crime is innocent or guilty via a public vote all broadcast live to the world via a nightly tv show, Death is Justice. The convict must wait seven days on death row during which the public decides their fate. Each day, they move from one cell to the next enduring various psychological tortures all of which are broadcast live. On Day 7, if they are voted guilty, they are executed live on tv, for an extra charge of course. It’s a concept that, like Charlie Brooker’s, isn’t completely unimaginable.

In Drewery’s book, 16-year old Martha Honeydew has been convicted of shooting and killing Jackson Paige, a major celebrity who is widely known for his charity work. A police video shows her holding a gun over his body, professing that she did it. It seems that she is guilty but Eve Stanton, a counsellor for the death row facility, suspects that there is more to the murder than first meets the eye. Eve’s own past influences how she interacts with those on death row and how she views the entire justice system, all of which is explained in the book.

Like The Hunger Games and Divergent books, Cell 7 is classed as YA, but it is as tense as any episode of Black Mirror, Electric Dreams, or George Orwell’s 1984. Given the version of celebrity culture presented to us in the book, the tone is sarcastic and ironic. On the one hand, it presents the facade of celebrity, as Paige’s life is slowly revealed to us. This is certainly very timely given the recent revelations of organised sexual abuse and paedophilia in Hollywood that were covered up by the entire industry. But the book also presents a version of reality tv that reveals the ridiculousness of the reality tv show, and the fact that anyone can become a reality tv star today, including those on death row. Again, given the popularity of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, this idea of the convict as celebrity isn’t very far fetched. The book presents a significant argument about what we consider to be entertainment today. In our world where everything is captured and broadcast for the world to see, the book makes us think about the ethics of displaying everything that happens around us.

Another important aspect of modern culture touched on by the book is the power of social media. In Drewery’s world, the entire legal system had been replaced with the general public. In this system, everyone has a say and they have collectively become judge, jury, and executioner making judges and any sense of the law void. Those who once acted as judges now find that their opinions have equal stance with anyone on the street and that the only power one has is how many guilty or innocent votes you can cast. This again touches on important topics such as how influential social media is today and how much public opinion can sway important decisions and be swayed by media spin.

Cell 7 is certainly a book of its time, fitting perfectly into the dystopian worldview that pervades modern culture. It’s the first book in a trilogy, followed by Day 7, which was published in June 2017, and Final 7, which will be published early 2018. I haven’t read either of the follow ups yet but I look forward to it.

Buy Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery here

About the author

Drewery, KerryKerry lives in Lincolnshire between the countryside and the sea. She has a first class honours degree in Professional Writing, has worked for BookStart, and been a finalist in a BBC Scriptwriting for children competition. She’s a proud member of Author Allsorts and The Prime Writers.

Apart from the sensible stuff, Kerry likes to run, bike and swim, and has previously spent 12 hours running over the Humber Bridge again and again… She also swims in lakes in winter in a bikini.

Cell 7 (Hot Key Books 2016) was longlisted for the Southern Schools Book Award, shortlisted for the CrimFest Best YA Award and was Spellbinding Book of the Year 2017.
The sequel – Day 7 – came out June 2017, and the final in the trilogy – Final 7 – is out Spring 2018.

A Brighter Fear was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards

A Dream of Lights was shortlisted for the Hampshire Independent Schools Books Award, awarded Highly Commended at the North East Teen Book Awards and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

She is also the co-coordinator of the UKYA Extravaganza events with author Emma Pass which bring readers, authors and bloggers together to celebrate UKYA talent.

https://kerrydreweryauthor.wordpress.com

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, presented by Kevin J. Kennedy, edited by Brandy Yassa

Collected Christmas FinalChristmas has always struck me as being the strangest time of year. Whether you’re a fan of Christmas or not, or an Andy Williams or Grinch as Nev Murray describes it in the Foreword, Christmas feels different to the rest of the year. People are more stressed out whilst simultaneously telling themselves that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s enough to make anyone crazy. This collection of short stories and poems captures the weirdness of the Christmas season perfectly. Continue reading

Broadswords and Blasters Issue 2

cover2Broadswords and Blasters, the new magazine from Matthew X. Gomez and Cameron Mount, declares itself as “pulp with modern sensibilities” and, before I started reading, I wasn’t really sure what this was going to be. As an incredibly varied genre, pulp encapsulates popular or sensationalist writing that is stereotypically of poor quality. Thankfully, the magazine does feature genre storytelling, all of which is very well written, without the misogynistic and racist elements of the pulp tradition. Continue reading

Back, or the Great Return of Mitchell and Webb

backep187375-f1I’m moving away from my usual reviews to write about Back, David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s newest show currently airing on Channel 4 (although there’s only one episode left). The six-part series tells the story of Stephen, played by Mitchell, who returns to his childhood home following the death of his father. He returns to help his mother and sister run the family pub. At his father’s graveside, Andrew, played by Webb, shows up and claims to have been one of the many children that Stephen’s parents fostered over the years, although Stephen has no recollection of him. Andrew seems to have done it all and is extremely charming which immediately rubs the pessimistic Stephen up the wrong way. Mitchell’s character becomes increasingly suspicious of Andrew’s motive for returning and his intentions as he moves closer to the family. Is Andrew just after money? Is he trying to ruin the family? Is he in some way trying to save the family and the family business? Continue reading

A Review of Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

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Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago. Continue reading

This is the End: A Review of End of the World: The Beginning (Book 1) by Nesly Clerge

33010239It’s 2050. The Order of World Society controls civilisation by chipping and tracking the privileged via a system called KATE (Kinetic Advanced Transitional Emissions). Those that are not chipped are mysteriously “disposed of”. The secretive Order oversees the movements and activities of society, predicting what people will buy, what they will want to watch, and where they will be at all times. They even control the weather. Nothing is left to chance. Continue reading