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5.0 out of 5 starsLife happens and creates data
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2021
Quite a refreshingly insightful story of how we each create our stream of data to leave a trail that singularly defines who and what each of us are made of. Conceivably it will soon define our answers to a set of carefully selected, by machine, parameters. From externally uploaded data we can be programmed to carry out actions then, through just stimulating certain hidden traits, we may not even be aware of. The story is well researched, fast paced, the jump cuts not irritating and the characters interesting. Quite an enjoyable read.
5.0 out of 5 starsAn engrossing thriller and a revelatory exploration of AI developments in law enforcement
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2021
Greek author CJ Abazis serves as a manger for a software company and steps onto the literary scene with a most impressive novel – THE MACHINE MURDERS – which is both a riveting mystery thriller as well as a lesson on contemporary techniques for tracing criminals – the Artificial Intelligence era where machine learning and predictive policing have surpassed previous techniques for investigation. Of particular note, this novel initiates a series – The Manos Manu Series – indicating there will be even more to learn (and be entertained) from this very fine new author. The novel is translated from the Greek by Kalliopy Paleos.
On the book’s website a well-written condensation of the novel’s plot makes this book inviting: ‘Manos Manu goes to the Greek Island of Mykonos to attend the wedding of a friend. Here he witnesses the hunt for a serial killer who abducts and kills his victims, passes a chain through their bodies and drops them at sea as buoys with word “Free” written on them. Clues are plentiful: the local police close in on boat rentals, hotel reservations, DNA samples and last sightings. But the murders, that began to make the rounds in social media, are just too much for them. Enter Manu. He is a data scientist who gave up lucrative pay in Silicon Valley because he “wanted to run multiple models on human actors,” and only Interpol would allow him to do that with immunity. His problem? The machine learning system he has developed to track killers via their use of online media is untested, the datasets he’s after are lacking and an entire wall of suspicion flows whatever he tries to do: his wealthy friends view him with pity for joining law enforcement, the Greek police don’t understand a thing about his methods and his bosses in Singapore think he spends too many resources and puts the entire program under the unnecessary scrutiny of the global media. As the victims multiply, the crisis deepens and the machine learning models of Manu’s system uncover correlations impossible to fathom.’
It’s one thing to have a theme that magnetizes the public’s attention – the effects of AI on the increasing possibility of invasion of privacy as well as enhanced law enforcement techniques: to be able to deliver such information in the form of a well-scribed mystery thriller is one of the many reasons CJ Abazis impresses. His quality of prose is mesmerizing: ‘Manos Manu was on holiday in Mykonos when the officer from the Cyclades Police precinct asked him to investigate a sunken corpse found in the waters of Ornos there. Manos instantly agreed, mostly to work on his plan. He now found himself on waters of his own origins, its pure, sparkling colors surging as if from a wellspring at the earth’s core. His beloved Greece.’
This debut novel works on every level and announces the arrival of a very fine new author! Highly recommended. Grady Harp, August 21
5.0 out of 5 starsA nail biter of a Mystery Thriller that will leave you unsettled
Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2021
Mykonos…An Island Paradise where the wealthy come to party. A paradise that is now the hunting ground of a brutal killer. A body has been found in the waters surrounding the islands, the victim dispatched in a gruesome fashion. The authorities are dumbfounded. Manos Manu is an investigator for Interpol familiar with the inner workings of the criminal mind. However, a wedding of a friend brought him to the picturesque island, so he is loath to get involved in the case. Manos turned his back on his college friends when he pursued his career.
The case brings unwanted media attention as the victim was a semi-celebrity on Social Media. Manos believes the way to catch a killer has evolved, and that AI and/or Social Network behavior can lead to possible suspects. The need for his skills is amplified when a second body is found, the manner of death similar to the first victim. The media frenzy has begun as the prospect of a serial killer sends everybody into a tailspin. Manos is in contact with his friend(girlfriend) Mei in Singapore who digs through the algorithms in the Social Mediasphere in attempting to find the killer. Their killer is slick, smart and is enjoying the hunt. Manos has to contend with a not so friendly police force, a psychotic killer, a wedding and the attractive Lena, a woman who attempts to study killers in a more academic way. At this point, Manos will be lucky to leave the island alive.
“The Machine Murders” is a crisp and smart Mystery Thriller from Author CJ Abazis. The action and thrills are intermingled with the occasional humor as well as sexual tension that runs throughout the book. Manos is a fallible investigator, capable of tripping himself up, but his eye for machine learning and its capabilities prove prescient. His nemesis is cunning and diabolical, the showdown between the two well worth the wait. A page gripping yarn from start to finish.
5.0 out of 5 starsRead it before Netflix makes it a crime series
Reviewed in Germany on August 20, 2021
An absolute page turner where a series of horrific crimes set in Mykonos seem to be part of a bigger plot that intertwines local police authorities, Interpol, the Chinese government and a Zuckerberg type tech mogul. Manos Manu a Stanford data scientist working with Interpol is defying standard practices to untangle the underlying patterns connecting seemingly unconnected crime events across the world. I wouldn't be surprised if the Machine Murders series becomes the next Netflix hit.