City of Schemes


Fiction - Thriller - General
325 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

City of Schemes by Bill Garwin is an engaging story with strong, relevant themes and well-developed characters. Megan Garrity is a mother and a woman who follows rules meticulously. When she receives an email with an offer that includes a house, employment, and possible programs for Nick, she accepts it with no hesitation. Moving to Norcal is exciting, but she has not taken the time to process the full implications of the offer. This part of North California is designed to be a testing ground for a new technology, and residents have the choice to either relocate in two years with the help of the government or to stay forever. Those relocating to the area receive a chip, embedded into their bodies, which serves to create an invisible boundary. The program quickly falls into the wrong hands, and Megan and other people find themselves caught up in a game of corruption, a power tussle, and life-threatening situations. Can she navigate through this complicated world, reconnect with Nick who has been torn away from her, and experience freedom?

This is a novel with strong characters, including Brodrick, Walrus, Megan, Nick, Stephanie, Crystal, and others. The key characters are fully drawn, and readers will want to follow Megan and Walrus, a man described as being famous for one-night-stands. Bill Garwin uses his interest in Megan, as well as Brodrick’s, to create suspense that spices up the plot. The story is about possibilities and explores what future technology can be like and how digital technology can be used for stronger control of humanity. This book has a message that will resonate powerfully with contemporary readers, especially those who subscribe to the idea that the wealthy can control the population with the use of embedded chips. The writing is excellent and it features descriptions that capture the details of the settings and focused scenes. Bill Garwin’s novel is engaging, fast-paced, with humor written into characters that are memorable. City of Schemes is an intriguing read.

Pikasho Deka

City of Schemes by Bill Garwin is a dystopian novel set in a fictional near-future. In search of a better life, Megan Garrity smuggles herself and her thirteen-year-old son Nick into the unincorporated territory of Norcal. But upon their arrival, they are immediately kidnapped by men employed by a man named Boty, who runs the largest unlicensed drug organization in Norcal. Walrus, a gifted hacker who brought Megan and her son into Norcal in the first place, quickly puts his right-hand man Charles Hill onto the job of retrieving them. As Walrus' nemesis Fred Brodrick tries to consolidate his power, a drug war ensues that complicates things further. Walrus now seeks the help of an investigative reporter named Crystal Lange to get Megan and her son out of the clutches of Boty before being caught in a drug war.

Author Bill Garwin weaves an intricate web of plot threads that converge to create an entertaining tale of deception and corruption. Bill Garwin uses multiple POVs to showcase the varying factions involved in the power struggle to gain the upper hand. The plot moves at a fast pace in unexpected ways that always keep you on your toes. The characters are complex and well-realized. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving Charles, Walrus, and Crystal. Bill Garwin deftly handles the drug legalization topic and does a stellar job of presenting perspectives from both sides of the issue. I had an absolute blast reading City of Schemes. I think fans of dystopian thrillers will find it very entertaining.

Jose Cornelio

City of Schemes by Bill Garwin is a thriller with strong hints of science fiction, intrigue, political corruption, and crime. Megan Garrity responds to an offer sent through an untraceable email, and for her, it is a huge opportunity to start a new life with free housing, a job, and a promising life for Nick. But when they arrive Norcal, the designated place where every resident carries an embedded computer chip, they quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. A bold project for new technology is happening here, but the program has been hijacked by crooks, and the city experiences crimes like human trafficking and drugs. Megan and Nick go through a lot of ordeals, including a run-in with the bad guys, being drugged, separation, and even sex with a man who has never shown real interest in women — Walrus. But can they make it in a city filled with greedy men without consciences?

This well-imagined and skillfully written story explores the corrupt and greedy nature of humanity. The idea of a city with inhabitants controlled by computer chips is ingenious and Bill Garwin writes this setting brilliantly. The plot is tight, cleverly written, and features twists that readers can’t anticipate. Characters like Walrus are well-developed, multilayered, and memorable. Megan was my favorite character and I loved the way the author explores her psyche and her emotional state as she navigates numerous dangerous and challenging situations. The descriptions are terrific, like Stephanie’s experiences in the Blue Bedroom. Bill Garwin is a skilled storyteller with a unique gift for plot and the ability to create settings that are real without diminishing the sense of mystery in the writing. City of Schemes is suspenseful, containing the right amount of action, and strong plot points that force the reader to turn the pages.