Ian Patrick Williams’s A.I. P.I. sets a perfect scene for a down-at-the-heel private eye. A jaded, cynical ex-cop with an office he owes rent on in a bad neighbourhood, Raymond, or RMD3000, is one of a minority of artificially intelligent androids, feared and discriminated against by a society that has reverted to pen and paper in a backlash against any kind of computer intelligence. He wasn’t expecting to have to apply the P.I.’s license he’s only managed to keep because the older members of the local police force still remember him to solve a missing person case, and he certainly wasn’t expecting to get shot at before he’d even finished turning the case down. Between the criminals, who think he knows something, and the police, most of whom would happily do whatever it takes to see him on a scrap heap, and the gorgeous blonde heiress who’s trying to hire him, Raymond finds himself in territory that’s more dangerous by the minute.
A.I. P.I. is a beautifully crafted story in the style of a ‘50s crime thriller, set in a future society whose prejudices and reactions are stunningly plausible. Ian Patrick Williams has created an inhuman character whose very humanity is the element that will draw the reader in and surprise them at every turn. The world of the book is skillfully built one reaction at a time, until Raymond’s precarious existence between the grimy cracks of society becomes your own. Add fast-paced action and a criminal investigation that keeps twisting and turning with each new lead, and this book is a guaranteed page-turner.