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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.