Sunday, September 11, 2022

Amen Maxine by Faith Gardner

Title: Amen Maxine
Author: Faith Gardner
Publisher: Mirror House Press
Release Date: July 23, 2022

A new marriage.
A perfect home.
A machine that says it’s all a lie.

Welcome to Silicon Valley, where the weather is perfect, the income is high … and Rowena Snyder is miserable. A transplant from New York, Rowena moved into her husband Jacob’s idyllic childhood home with their new baby. But suburbia isn’t Rowena’s cup of Starbucks. And she’s got serious anxiety and depression to boot.

Jacob, worried about their marriage, scores a new product currently in beta testing from his tech job: Maxine, a “digital friend” that bonds with an individual by continually gathering their personal data. Along with functioning like an upscale digital assistant, Maxine has “advice” and “prediction” modes that have shown promise for patients with mental health issues. To Rowena’s shock, the device turns out to be not just helpful, but eerily accurate, predicting events before they occur.

It’s a godsend until Maxine offers a series of increasingly bone-chilling predictions that will change Rowena’s life forever.

This domestic suspense novel set in a near-future dystopia asks, who do you trust more—your mind, your man, or your machine?

A domestic suspense with an AI twist.

Rowena Snyder is unhappy, anxious, and depressed. She met her husband Jacob online during the pandemic and when they finally connected in person, she thought they had chemistry. After she discovers she is pregnant with her daughter Michelle, they married and Jacob convinces her to leave her job as an editor in NYC and move to California with him to live at his childhood home. 

Michelle is now 6 months old and Rowena has noticed that her husband is not attentive anymore. Anytime she is in crisis, his answer to her is to take another lorazepam. Rowena knows she is spiraling but is this because her husband is gaslighting her or is she truly losing her mind?

Jacob decides that Rowena needs help. He brings home an AI assistant named Maxine who can help her get organized and keep things straight for her. She can be her "friend". Maxine is still in beta testing mode and there was a problem before with an AI used by people with anxiety. 

Can this machine make her anxiety worse or will it help her using her "advice" and "prediction" mode?

There is no way this reader wouldn't root for Rowena. She is a mess but she is dealing with a lot. A new baby, a move, leaving her job, not having her best friend or mother around, and a husband who is not behaving like he used to. 

I also loved Maxine. Can I have one? 

I know there is another book in this series already, Violet Is Nowhere. 

Amen to that!

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Mirror House Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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