The Minders

John Marrs

Berkley Pub

Feb 16th, 2021

The Minders by John Marrs has the elements for which he’s become known. A bunch of characters, usually five, are part of an event that goes wrong. This novel is on the back of his previous one, The Passengers.

In fact, some of his novels will be made into a series on Netflix. “It was a production company in the UK Called Urban Myth who have made my book The One for Netflix. It starts March 12 worldwide.  It’s a multiple cast of young, mainly British actors, headed up by Hannah Ware. I’ve played no part in the adaptation and I’ve only seen the first of the eight episodes and really enjoyed it. It’s a fast-paced thriller with many of the elements of my novel. Three of my other books have also been optioned in the last year – What Lies Between Us was taken on by Renee Zellweger’s TV production company and The Passengers and The Minders have also been optioned by others.”

This story starts two years after The Passengers took place.  A covert program is established because a hacking collective infiltrated the network controlling autonomous vehicles, causing collisions that claimed over 5,000 lives. The organization also has launched massive ransomware attacks, leading to fears that the British National Archives could also be compromised. Now the British government has enlisted five people to store important limitless amount of data by coding then onto a single strand of DNA. And that DNA will be stored inside a plastic bead which will be used to inject to the minders’ lesser used sections of their brains.  These people, designated as The Minders have exceptional perception, and are asked to help safeguard the country against hackers. They have this neurological trait, called “SYNESTHESIA.” (helps them hear colors or see sounds)

“I write about conspiracy theories and what would it be like to know everything about a country’s secrets, but not able to tell anyone. I read about various countries and states being hacked.  I wanted to combine these two worlds together. I take the reality of SYNESTHESIA and storing DNA and took it even farther.  A professor in the states helped me make the story believable.”

Told from the perspectives of all the minders along with one unknown, readers find out about their lives and their overwhelming challenges to keep safe because top secret security information has been placed inside their heads. They are chosen in the program by solving a puzzle which is designed to choose extraordinary people.

“When writing it I liked Charlie the most.  It was interesting to write about a character who felt nothing. He had dark twists to his character.  The one I liked least was Sinead.  I did not enjoy writing her character.  Maybe if the book was based just on her I would have liked her more.  I found the other characters more interesting and was able to take them on more of a journey.”

The characters: 

Flick Kennedy, a former restaurant owner and now a bartender. Thirty-six years old, a fast learner, smart, but emotionally broken after her disastrous DNA match experiment: her soulmate is a dangerous serial killer which made her question her own mental health. 

Charlie Manchester, twenty-five years old, a graphic designer who started a new life in Manchester, forming new friendships but is still depressed, feels isolated, and suffers from anxiety attacks. 

Sinead Kelly, a thirty-three-year-old office worker, who has a mentally abusive husband and has lost all her confidence. 

Bruno York, thirty-nine years old who is a stay-at-home parent, taking care of his son suffering from autism. During the driverless car crash, his wife died with her lover and now he wants to avenge each person who made him lose everything in his life and destroyed his family.

Emilia, who has woken up with amnesia, and was taken home by her husband, but she has no memory of him.

This book, as with all Maar’s stories, gives a futuristic glimpse.  He takes something that has some reality and expands it to see what could happen.



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About the Author

Elise Cooper

Elise writes book reviews that always include a short author interview.