#BookReview: The Passengers by John Marrs @EburyPublishing #ThePassengers #damppebbles

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“Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?”

Woah! If this is the future then I’m locking myself in a library and NEVER, EVER leaving again! (Actually, I *may* do that anyway…) Welcome to damppebbles today and to my review of a book which has proven to be hugely popular, The Passengers by John Marrs. I received a free eARC of this book via NetGalley but that has in no way influenced my review.

I should probably admit that this is the first John Marrs novel I’ve read. I know how popular his books are, and I even organised a blog tour for his last release, so I’m kicking myself for not having read anything by him before. BECAUSE I LOVED THE PASSENGERS!! What a novel, what a terrifying yet brilliant novel this is. I think what makes it even scarier is the fact that you can envisage this being our future. This is where we are headed if technology keeps developing at the rate it currently is. And that’s flipping terrifying. All of my smart devices, including my phone and my Fitbit, are going in the bin. And you will never ever get me in a driverless car. End of.

The Passengers is set in the not too distant future which gives the author a little more room to manoeuvre with his story as there are inventions in Marrs’ future world which don’t exist in the present. I expect driverless cars will be the norm in the future but for now, let us bask in the knowledge that we are safe from the horrific idea of a vehicle propelling us around at high speed which we or no other human being has any control over.

Eight lives. Set on a collision course. Picked at random. Or are they? The Government are proud of their driverless car system. For once, the UK is leading the way while the rest of the world watches. Road traffic accidents are down, the number of fatalities due to RTAs have been reduced. The system is infallible. That is until hackers find their way into the technology and set eight random cars on a collision course. A secret government jury is thrown into the limelight when they are told they can save one of The Passengers. But only one. Interfere with the cars or try and stop the collision and there will be consequences. Severe consequences. But not everything is as it first seems and when people are putting across their best side, who knows what other terrible secrets they are hiding from the world. The Jury and the public must decide who lives and who dies…

Not only is this a terrifying book but I also found it absolutely fascinating. There are some pretty evil, unlikable characters in this novel but probably the most repulsive is the general public who eagerly have their say via social media. That mob mentality takes over and oh boy, it’s terrifying. Unwittingly, mental health nurse Libby becomes embroiled in the hackers plan to terrorise the world when she is called to be part of the secret government jury. What she doesn’t expect is to recognise one of The Passengers, which turns her world upside down and puts her in an impossible situation. I liked Libby. I wanted to do the right thing and kick some MP butt! She did come across as a little whiny at times but in the same situation, I think I would be a little whiny too.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved it. There was one aspect that I struggled with but I’m not going to go into detail about that now. I love the concept of this book, normal people being picked off one by one for the terrible secrets they keep. The way the novel takes a good hard look at society and how much information we dish out to third party companies without a seconds thought and the way, when tucked safely behind a screen and are completely anonymous, we turn on each other in the worst way possible. So easy to read, so hard to put down. If this is the future then I’m going to start looking for that library to lock myself in. Absolutely brilliant.

I chose to read and review an eARC of The Passengers. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Passengers by John Marrs was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 30th May 2019 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats with the hardcover to follow in August (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | BookDepository | Goodreads |


John Marrs

John Marrs is the author of #1 bestsellers The One (soon to be made into a film with Urban Myth Films), The Good Samaritan (shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards 2018), When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.

Author Links: | Twitter | Website | Facebook | Instagram |

#GuestReview: The One by @johnmarrs1 | @EburyPublishing @cluesandreviews

the one.jpg“How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love.

Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…”

A very warm welcome to another of my fabulous guest review posts.  Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Sam to damppebbles who blogs over at Clues and Reviews.  Sam’s blog is fantastic so if you’re not already following her, I certainly recommend checking her blog out.  Sam has very kindly read and reviewed The One by John Marrs for me but before we find out what Sam thought of this incredibly popular book, here’s a little more information about her:

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 5.45.36 PMResiding in Ontario, Canada, with my book buddy, Ellie, I Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 5.43.21 PMteach by day and blog by night.  Although I would never discriminate, mystery, thriller and suspense novels fill my TBR list; dabbling in some books in the horror genre and occasionally some romance, come check me out at Clues and Reviews for my thoughts, reviews and general bookish ramblings. Twitter: @cluesandreviews  Instagram: cluesandreviews

Here are Sam’s thoughts on The One by John Marrs:

The One by John Marrs , was a book that I had seen people raving about for months on various blog tours and floating around in various Facebook groups; I was curious, but hesitant.  How often does a book really live up to the hype?

Well let me tell you, this book does.

Set in, what seems to be the very near, future, a gene is detected that allows people (with one quick DNA test) to identify their perfect partner.  The one they are genetically made for.   The narrative follows five different matches as they navigate their paths with their newly found soul mates.

This novel bent whatever I know about genre norms; this one was equal parts mystery, suspense, science fiction,, fantasy and romance all molded into one fast-paced, unputdownable read.  I was on the edge of my seat.

The characters in this novel were what got me.  Each character was intricately thought out and developed.   As each of their stories unfolded, I couldn’t help but in awe of Marrs and his ability to make the reader completely engrossed in their plights.   I was especially drawn into Christopher’s narrative as he hides a dark secret from his match and by the story of Amanda, who is desperate to find love.

I love my novels with considerable twists and turns and The One did not disappoint.  As soon as I felt like I understood where Marrs was going, he would deviate from the course and send me into a tailspin.

This rating was an absolute no brainer for me, 5/5 stars.  In fact, this one is a front runner for my favourite novel I have read this year.


Brilliant review, thank you Sam.  You can tell how much you loved this book and I’m glad I was able to help you ‘maybe’ find your book of the year!

The One by John Marrs was published in the UK by Ebury Publishing on 26th January 2017 and is available in eBook format (with the paperback to follow in May 2017) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |


john marrs.jpg

 John Marrs is a freelance journalist based in London, England, who has spent the last 20 years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines.

He has written for publications including The Guardian’s Guide and Guardian Online; OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent; Star; Reveal; Company; Daily Star and News of the World’s Sunday Magazine.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook |