Set in the near future, Rob Hart paints a grim, but thoroughly and helplessly entertaining, picture of what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business . . . and what the world we’re currently building might look like if we’re not careful.
Stepping away from his Ash McKenna series (Potter’s Field, 2018. etc.), Hart opens his latest thriller by introducing readers to billionaire Gibson Wells, founder of Cloud—an Amazon-like company that’s dominated the market and put mom and pop shops out to pasture while turning ridiculous profits and becoming the largest company in the world. Wells, who is dying from pancreatic cancer, offers up his take on his company and what it took to build Cloud into the empire that it is. (Spoiler alert: he’s drank a bit too much of his own Kool-Aid and fails to see the error of his ways, while truly believing he’s done nothing but make the world a better place.)
Also dying is the way consumers obtain their desired products and services. Retail stores and strip malls are nearly a thing of the past, and to meet the increased demand of online shopping, most of which is done on Cloud—and hey, why not when you can get your packages brought to you that same day, courtesy of the company’s fleet of delivery drones—Wells has assembled what he calls “MotherCloud facilities,” where employees can live and work.
Here, at one of those facilities, we meet our two co-protagonists, Paxton—an ex-prison guard turned entrepreneur who saw his own business throttled by Cloud and ends up working for the retail conglomerate as a security guard—and Zinnia, a shipping employee who’s actually a secret agent embedded into Cloud, who lives at the same company facility. Told through alternating POVs, readers follow Paxton and Zinnia through their daily routines as they acclimate to their new home, then begin to fall for one another. All the while, Hart presents a number of alarming issues that we, whether we realize it or not, must face before it’s too late and the consequences finally catch up with us as a society.
Like, for example, what might happen if a company becomes more powerful than, say, a country? Or what to do when work and life and no longer separate things, but instead it’s all one blurred reality?
Alarming as it is, at its core, The Warehouse is more than just a cautionary tale, it’s a thriller, and when you toss in the heart-pounding corporate espionage elements and the nightmarish situation both characters quickly find themselves in, it’s a damn fine one at that. Moreover, Hart touches on a number of other timely issues, skillfully weaving them into the story in a way that’s relatable and, at times, emotionally jarring. The character development is flawless, the pacing is smooth and steady, and the structure is on point, allowing Hart to brilliantly lay out his story, which is by far his best work to date.
A serious contender for best book of the year, Rob Hart’s The Warehouse is a powerful, game-changing thriller that’s both thought-provoking and entertaining . . . and is sure to stay with readers for quite some time.
Whatever you do, do not miss this book.
Author: Rob Hart
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 9.5/10
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.