【 THE VERIFIERS 】
A quirky, fun mystery that’ll make you think differently about data collection.
Author: Jane Pek
Published: February 2022
Publisher: Vintage Books & Anchor Books
Pages: 368 (ebook)
Thanks to Vintage Books & Anchor Books for a copy of this for review
Oooh this was an interesting ride, and I loved it. I was really drawn in by the premise of this one and was so glad that it delivered. Not only do we have a cool, modern mystery, but we have the added drama of Chinese family expectations that make the plot fraught with bonus tension. AND, our main character, Claudia, is repping the queer community.
What really got me with this one was the meta comparison that Claudia makes throughout of her own life, investigating a mysterious disappearance of a client with the crime novels she reads. Not only that, but the fact that she’s involved with the companies running the online dating world.
This book brushes shoulders so closely with the real world that it’s delightfully uncomfortable. It brazenly makes your fears come to light about what companies do with the data they collect on you, whilst spicing up the scene with a mystery about outsiders getting too close to the truth about what is going on within these companies.
Claudia is a really fun main character and I just loved her. The way she’s dealing with career choices, relationships (or lack thereof) and family were very reminiscent of the exciting times you’ll find within books like Dial A for Aunties. Sibling rivalry is also present and the love–hate relationship between them all is highly relatable to anyone with siblings of their own. There were some genuinely amazing strong moments where siblings banded together that made me whoop with joy. And you can never go wrong with model-minority expectations books like this present in such a gold-standard way.
The mystery was well packed and a closely kept secret – so I was on my toes trying to point fingers in the right direction. But it’s clear that Pek has had a very fun time misleading us and taking the plot on a wild goose chase so that we’re just as bamboozled as Claudia trying to solve the case.
Would definitely recommend this for some gentle crime that’ll spook you less with the murdery elements, and more with the unveiling of the nefarious data mining of the modern world.
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