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Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite
Cut Reality by Zack Hacker is a psychological thriller that would appeal most to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy amateur detectives, reality TV, and mystery thrills, and who do not mind a bit of explicit language. Jason Debord was one of the stars on a reality survival TV show called Beached. The show starts out fun with all of the competitors choosing fake names and voting contestants off. But as the competition continues, Jason’s friend Billy starts to notice some suspicious things about the filming crew that the other contestants view as paranoia. At the show's end, Jason finds himself returning home with sleeping problems and feeling more alone than he ever felt before, while also dealing with what appears to be the suicide of one of his fellow competitors that was presented on TV to the world. Will Jason uncover the truth behind the show and the death, or will his investigation end in his own death as forces conspire to stop him from finding out the truth?
Cut Reality by Zack Hacker first grabbed my attention with its cover showing an island and a floating TV in the water; the image made me want to read the book to find out what this intriguing image represented. I loved the reality TV aspect of the narrative, especially with how the author shares Jason’s experiences through journal entries at the beginning of the book. I really loved the journaling aspect as it gave me real insight into Jason as a character and into the reality TV show itself. I only wish the journaling section had been longer as I would have loved to learn more about Jason’s experiences and the show itself. That desire was quickly forgotten as the mystery aspect of the book reared its head and pulled me into the conspiracy, right along with Jason as he tried to untangle truth and lies to uncover who was behind the murder, as well as who broke into his house and then tried to run him off the road. The ending was not what I was expecting and that fact made it enjoyable as I have always loved books that can surprise me - this book did that and more!