Technological Suspense and a Musical Love Story: Book Review of “Love is the Bridge” by Denise Weeks

My first book review of 2016 is about Love is the Bridge by Denise Weeks.bridge-cover-final (2) You can read an interview with the author here. I selected this title from Cheap Kindle Books.

Summary

The story centers on the main character of twenty-two year old musician Paige Campbell who lives in Dallas, Texas. Paige has musical synesthesia:
rainbowpiano

she could not only hear the pitch of a note, but she sensed its color as well. B-flat was a warm silky green, F-sharp the bittersweet blue of a lonesome pond. Talk about a psychedelic rainbow organ, she had one built in.

Paige works for her Uncle Hans at his music store, Hans’ Music Haus. She also takes classes at the Dallas Music Academy and plays gigs playing piano and singing whenever she gets the opportunity. The action begins with a crank phone call at the music shop and a business meeting with Alan McConnell who hires Paige to sing radio jingles for his advertising agency and quickly escalates into a full-on suspenseful cyber-attack. The story follows Paige as she is increasingly stalked with endless phone calls, text messages and emails. Her email account, Facebook page and music files are all hacked and that eventually leads to her suspension from college and the loss of her job at the music store.

The key element that ties Paige and Alan together is the prototypical artificial intelligence test system designed by Alan for his business of writing advertising jingles. Alan notices that the artificial intelligence experiment does several strange things and cannot be turned off.

“The task he had set it was to analyze three successful commercial jingles and tell him what they had in common, what it was that made them so good at what they did. But the system seemed to have closed all those files and stopped working on the task around three AM. As if the software had gotten bored and gone off to do something else.

AIInitially Alan wonders if his artificial intelligence system has turned into a conscious free agent. But eventually he is forced to consider the possibility that perhaps his system is somehow become inhabited by a paranormal or spiritual entity. Together Paige and Alan must confront the “ghost in the machine” to find out who and what is after Paige to break the hold this system has taken over their lives.

Evaluation

Love is the Bridge is driven by lively and, at times, comedic dialogue between the main characters marked with pop culture and computer programming references. The realism of the dialogue in the urban Dallas setting provides a nice contrast to the more atmospheric and unique elements of the work such as the ghost or entity in the artificial intelligence system and the experience of the events from the perspective of Paige’s synesthesia.

The work successfully ties together many thought-provoking topics in a mix of genres. Philosophical issues to do with consciousness, the nature of mind, and body, truth, free will as well as implications of artificial intelligence and the role of technology in our everyday lives are explored.

The thoughtful and tense story of technological stalking is complimented by a romance. The electric attraction between Paige and Alan grows as they become more entwined in each other’s lives.

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And then he kissed her. For real.

She felt her blood racing around inside her, the corpuscles like slot cars about to fly off the track. Incredibly, she heard the music of the spheres with her skin, in a rainbow of Skittles colors.

The romance theme is heightened near the end of the book with the meeting and hint of budding passion between their respective best friends Anndréa and John.

Conclusion

Love is the Bridge will appeal to a wide audience. This book is for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced read and is interested in topics of technology, romance, the mind, artificial intelligence and music. The energy of the writing makes it easy to envisage the book as a great movie.
I give this work five stars.


Love is the Bridge by Denise Weeks (2014).
256 Pages.
Purchase it at Cheap Kindle Books here
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–Nighttime Narratives

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