Lock In, by John Scalzi, 5*
published by Tor
Lock In is the end result of a new virus. 4% of victims suffer meningitis, 1% end up 'locked in'; aware, but unable to move or respond. But that 1% equals 1.7 million Americans so new laws, government research and support systems are instituted. Result: the sufferers can now 'live' in automaton bodies and lead 'normal' lives again.
Among the best known victim is a Senator's son, Chris Shane, afflicted when two years old and grown up as the poster boy for his kind. But Chris wants to do a real job and joins the FBI - facing this challenge just as it looks like the government is about to pull the plug on the funding that makes life 'livable' for his less-wealthy fellows.
This is a near future SF novel that manages to be credible, intricate and at times even humorous. As a fan of television's Almost Human I was probably the target audience, and this does seem to be the time for the concept to surface. Even so, the characters are strong, so is the plot, and the world building. Honestly, it was a clear 5 star rating from the first page.
My only gripe: I can't quite see how Scalzi could write a sequel - and I'd dearly love to meet these characters - all of them - again.