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The Family Experiment by John Marrs.

The global population is rapidly increasing, resulting in overcrowded urban areas and an economic downturn. The UK has reached its breaking point. More and more individuals cannot afford to have children, much less raise them. However, there is an alternative for those yearning to become parents. In exchange for a monthly subscription fee, clients have the opportunity to design and connect with a virtual child through the metaverse and a VR headset. In order to introduce their new initiative, the company behind Virtual Children has produced a reality TV show named The Substitute. Ten couples will raise a Virtual Child from birth to eighteen in a condensed nine-month timeframe. The prize is the choice between their virtual child or the opportunity for a real baby.

‘The Family Experiment’ by John Marrs is another one of his chillingly realistic futuristic thrillers that incorporates various perspectives and includes additional content such as online chats, ads, and news articles, contributing to the overall ambiance of the book. The book’s brief chapters, troublesome characters, and numerous twists make it nearly impossible to stop reading. I couldn’t keep track of how many times this book left me speechless.

This book was quite different from what I typically read. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am certain to seek out similar books in the future. I was completely engrossed in John’s ability to create an alternate reality. This story was filled with twists and unique characters that brought out a range of emotions, making it brilliant. I was worried about getting confused by the multiple POVs, but the brief chapters helped me follow the characters easily. The ideas that John comes up with are both brilliant and unsettling. His gift lies in captivating others through his storytelling abilities and the power of his words.

Many thanks to John Marrs, Pan Macmillan & NetGalley for a review copy.


About the Author

Before becoming a full-time writer in 2016, I was a freelance journalist interviewing celebrities from television, film and music for national publications including The Guardian's Guide, OK! Magazine; Total Film; Empire; Q; GT; The Independent and the Daily Express. 


My debut novel The Wronged Sons, was released in 2013 and in 2015, I released my second book, Welcome To Wherever You Are.


In 2017 came my third, The One. It became a No.1 Netflix series, was translated into 35 languages and has sold almost a million copies. 


The Wronged Sons was re-edited and re-released in 2017 under a new title, When You Disappeared. 


My fourth book, The Good Samaritan, was also released in 2017 and became a world-wide No.1. 


In 2018 I released my police procedural thriller Her Last Move, and twelve months later came The Passengers. 


In 2020 came bestseller What Lies Between Us, which has been optioned by Renée Zellweger's production company and won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Paperback Original Novel. It recently became my third novel to sell more than 300,000 copies. That book was followed a year later by The Minders. 


Welcome to Wherever You Are was re-released in 2021 with a new edit and new title, The Vacation. It was shortlisted in the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize competition. 


In 2022 came my psychological thriller Keep It In The Family which sold its 100,000th copy in just ten months. 


In 2023 I released my fourth bestselling speculative fiction novel, The Marriage Act.  And in February 2024 comes psychological thriller The Stranger In Her House, which has been optioned by a TV production company. 


It will be followed in May 2024 by another speculative fiction book, The Family Experiment. 

And in 2025 I plan to release another thriller, You Killed Me First.

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