The ex-reality-star-turned President of the U.S. has outsourced a segment of capital punishment in the federal criminal justice system to a mysterious producer named The Postman, who has repurposed the old Alcatraz prison site into a physical setting for his Alcatraz 2.0 app. On the prison island The Postman brings in known serial killers to dispatch prisoners delivered for execution. Tens of millions of viewers across the nation tune in to watch live camera feeds of the serial killers tracking and killing their prey, and these viewers provide Twitter commentary on everything they see and everything they think about what’s happening. Screens stationed in homes and public places display continually scrolling statistics that track the number of people watching each prisoner, the number of hits each flamboyant serial killer gets for engineering impressive kills, the number of days each prisoner has survived, and so on. The app is a big hit and money-maker until it’s not. People grow tired of watching prisoners who are old, unattractive and uninteresting.
No better way to boost ratings than to import some hot-looking teenage prisoners, right? Enter Dee, a former kidnapping victim who finds herself convicted of killing her step-sister and sent to Alcatraz 2.0. Of course she is innocent, as are the friends she makes who help her fight back. Of course she and (most of) her friends successfully thwart the serial killers pursuing them, despite amazing challenges and physical injuries. Of course her efforts lead to the ultimate investigation of POTUS, the Attorney General, members of Congress, and other political n’er-do-wells. There’s even the promise of a continuing romance to wrap up the story in a satisfying fashion for those disliking loose ends.
The story is pretty derivative, the violent murder scenes are extraordinarily graphic (think “Criminal Minds”), and the language is so pervasive (shit, ass, douche, fuck, hell, damn) it gets really tiresome. The characters are one-dimensional and stereotypical. The book lacks emotive power. The Twitter format is clever and the snarky comments about POTUS will garner laughs from some readers but, all things considered, your $17.99 is better spent elsewhere.