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Reviewed by J. C. Steel for Readers' Favorite
Karen A. Wyle’s Playback Effect offers a new and unique slant on the world of virtual reality, one where a minority of lucid dreamers and a number of professional athletes, actors and stuntspeople record their experiences for others to buy and experience for themselves. Wynne Cantrell is one of the most successful lucid dreamers, offering a gamut of dream experiences from BDSM to butterfly gardens. Her husband, Hal Wakeman, a renowned sculptor, is frequently absent, heavily involved in his latest work, and largely uninterested in Wynne’s pretensions to artistry. When Hal is late for another of their meetings, it seems unremarkable, but the consequences will have far-reaching effects on their relationship - and the virtual reality market as a whole.
Karen A. Wyle has written a fantastic blend of sci-fi, romance, and detective thriller in this book. In a world where dreams have power and the Pandora’s Box of the virtual reality world is the legal and ethical nightmare of a moment of death recording, Wynne and Hal have to work with an eclectic set of people to beat a murder charge and bring the real criminal to justice. The details of the legal and criminal procedures are thoroughly researched, and give the story a solid framework, while the characters’ personal stories weave the book into a brilliant whole. With convincing characters and a plot full of intriguing twists and turns, Playback Effect will create a vivid reading experience for a wide range of readers. I can’t over-recommend this story – a real page-turner.