The Hotchkiss

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
83 Pages
Reviewed on 07/28/2022
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Author Biography

An avid reader all my life, especially of works in science and math, I live in New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap, one of the most scenic parts of the Garden State.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

What if you had an all-knowing advanced AI that brings out the worst aspects of your character and helps you bury your darkest secrets? The Hotchkiss by Pierre Lawrence may be the answer to that question. This sci-fi satire opens with Charles Crenshaw celebrating his thirty-fifth wedding anniversary with his increasingly nagging wife, Alice. Circumstances direct the conversation towards using GPS and, on a stranger's advice, Charles decides to spend a hefty amount on the latest tech available in the GPS market, the Hotchkiss. But Charles never anticipates what the Hotchkiss turns out to be. From providing adult entertainment services to flipping off his wife, Charles finds his newest AI companion to be much more than he ever dreamed of. However, soon he finds himself in a situation where the only way to get out is to go all in.

Wickedly funny and self-aware, The Hotchkiss is pure box office entertainment in the form of a novella. The thing that makes Pierre Lawrence's wildly audacious tale work is that it never takes itself too seriously. The narrative flows past without you realizing that you've already gone halfway through, and because you're having blast, you don't really want it to end. The characters are colorful, with their quirks turned up to 100, and it makes for quite an entertaining reading experience. Lawrence perfectly captures the essence of today's sales and customer care, where leeching off as much money as possible is the primary motive, and customer satisfaction is just an added bonus. Highly recommended.

Ammaarah Seboa

After getting lost on their way to dinner and witnessing the Harmin GPS in action, Charles's wife Alice urges him to make the purchase no matter the cost. Instead of the Harmin, Charles goes for the Hotchkiss GPS and thus delves into the new age of technology. Not wanting to splurge on this innovative device, he decides to sign up for a trial period, which most people do when testing a product. What seemed to be a tiny device to get them to the next destination turned out to be so much more. Pierre Lawrence's novella The Hotchkiss brings us a tale of just how scary the world of innovative technology can be.

This was a little different from what I usually go for, but boy was I in for a treat! Pierre Lawrence gave us such realistic horror with the events that followed Charles's purchase of The Hotchkiss navigation system. The main character, Charles Crenshaw, is ignorant when it comes to all things technological, plus a cheapskate to boot. The nuance of reality is what made me like this book. Lawrence also made it a point to explain topics to readers who might be unfamiliar; this often made the novella seem longer than it was. This included the history, nature, and subsidiaries under the parent company of the Hotchkiss device. The development of the story has a slow build-up rate, thus keeping the reader in suspense. The scariest part for me was how quickly one's information can be accessed and that we're always being monitored through our devices. This book is perfect for fellow mystery sleuths and conspiracy enthusiasts.