SHARING A BODY CAN BE MURDER
The Earth’s spiralling population has finally been controlled. Lifespans are limited to eighty years, except for those who make an extreme choice: to become a commune. Five minds sharing one body, each living for four hours at a time. But with a combined lifespan of nearly 150 years.
Alex, Kate, Mike, Sierra and Ben have already spent twenty-five years together in what was once Mike’s body, their frequent personality clashes leading to endless bickering, countless arguments, and getting themselves stranded on a Russian Artic freighter. Wanting to buy upgrades for their next host body, they decide to travel to a Death Park where time can be gambled like money. But things go very wrong when Kate accepts a dangerous offer, and one of them disappears.
Someone is trying to kill off members of the commune. But why? Is one of them responsible? Or is an outsider playing a deadly game? It’s hard enough to catch a murderer. It’s almost impossible when you might be sharing a body with them…
This brilliant murder mystery blends classic crime with speculative fiction in a stunning debut.
I love a speculative thriller. That combination of a crime / mystery that is set in a world that is similar to yet not quite like our own always intrigues me and so Five Minds has been on my radar since I first heard about it earlier this year. I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour, particularly as it’s a novel that more than lived up to my expectations. The concept of five characters sharing a single body might seem a little confusing initially, and my only advice is to just go with it without worrying about the mechanics of how and why this world is as it is. The narrative throws you in at the deep end initially, but after setting up the mystery element, Morpuss does provide more insight into this near future world and how it all works.
And what a world it is! Earth’s ever-increasing population has finally reached breaking point and the drain on resources is such that extreme measures are required. Rather than all living out our lives as we do now, at the age of seventeen people are required to make a choice as to how they will live for the rest of their lives – either as a worker, an android, a hedonist, or a commune. Each of these options is explained within the novel, and while I won’t try to rehash them all, I thought that the idea worked brilliantly to offer individuals a trade-off between longevity and the resources required to sustain them throughout their lifetime, thereby limiting demand. It’s a fantastic and original concept, and if you want to know how you’d fit into this world, there’s a fun personality quiz on Guy’s website to find out how you’d live out your days. I’d be an android, if you’re interested.
Our main characters in the novel are unusual to say the least as they all share a single body, with each of the five allotted a specific four hour time slot in which they are in control and can do as they wish. It’s odd, but again – go with it. Each of the five – Kate, Mike, Ben, Sierra, and Alex – is unique in their voice and actions, and so there’s little chance of getting them confused. Despite sharing a single body, these are very different people, and as such I think that it’s only natural that you’ll take to some more than others. I think that Kate was my favourite. She seems to be the sensible one of the group – for the most part! – and the one that came across as being the most “normal”. That said, I did have a certain appreciation for Sierra’s “I don’t give a shit” attitude even if I didn’t always like her throughout the novel.
I’m not going to try to summarise the plot at all – I think that the blurb above sets this up nicely, and it would be far too easy to give something away – but I was hooked from the very first page and would happily have read it in one sitting had life and work not got in the way. Highly recommended for those who enjoy speculative fiction (a la Blake Crouch) or those who enjoy a mystery and don’t mind taking a leap of faith when encountering a new world.
Published by Viper Books, Five Minds is available to purchase now in hardback, eBook, and audio formats. Huge thanks to the publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the review copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Disclaimer – I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review.
About the Author
Guy Morpuss is a London-based barrister and QC, whose cases have featured drug-taking cyclists, dead Formula 1 champions and aspiring cemetery owners.
His favourite books involve taking a twist on reality, and playing with the consequences. Which led to his debut novel, Five Minds, about five people sharing one body – possibly with a murderer.
He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.
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