A bomb has exploded during a fashion show, killing a beautiful model on the catwalk. The murderer is still at large… and he may strike again. Yet this is the least of Police Commissioner Christian Verger’s worries. His fiancée Viola has left him. He has to keep his tumultuous past a secret. To make things worse, his voice assistant Alexa is 99.74% sure he will die tomorrow.
Moving from snowy 1980s Montana to chic 1990s Manhattan to a drone-filled 2030s Britain, FUTURE PERFECT is an electrifying race to solve a murder before it’s too late. Yet it is also a love story, a riveting portrait of a couple torn apart by secrets, grief and guilt. A twisted tale of how the past can haunt a person’s future and be used to predict if he will die… or kill.
I was approved to read this book by publishers Wildfire on NetGalley in return for an honest review, my thanks to the publishers and to author Felicia Yap.
Future Perfect follows the world of high-fashion through a series of unwitting tragedies; the bombing of a catwalk in Manhattan, the impending financial ruin of previously famous labels, a handful of personal traumas and the dramatic break-down of relationships. Thrust into the middle of this complicated mix of events is Christian Verger, newly appointed Police Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police department, his fiancée Viola and her dear friend, Xander.
The main three characters of Future Perfect are gripping, each having their own voice throughout the story – which is presented in the first-person perspective regardless of which characters chapter we are visiting. It’s a testament to Felicia Yap’s writing skills that she’s able to craft each of these characters in a unique way. There is a real sense of understanding coming from each perspective. Each one has a life and energy to their prospective chapters that are personal to the character and each chapter moves the story eagerly in forward momentum.
Touching upon the characters in a little more detail, I found their emotional quirks gave them depth. These characters aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination; Christian’s imposter syndrome added an unexpected level towards his high-profile occupation. Viola’s impatience and desire for perfection left little room for failure, in both herself, others and her work – the secrets of her own employment adding just a touch of hypocrisy for judging Christian on his own shrouded past. Xander, and his obsession with the deceased model Maya, was an enigma of his own and discovering his true motivations as the plot unfolded added additional layers to the overall mystery.
The plot of Future Perfect is, in essence, a straight-forward thriller. There are clues interspersed throughout the book that help to lead it to it’s inevitable conclusion. It’s an unpredictable thrill that kept the pages turning as best as it could.
The reason I say this as such is that the formatting of the copy I was given did the book a great disservice – I won’t reflect this in my overall star rating of the novel but as this was an ARC I do believe it worth saying. At times patterns of speech blended from one speaking character to the next, at the end of each chapter there was a quotation from one of the characters from an interview (for example) that merged with where the chapter should have ended, the was no proper break between the chapters and this was often broken. As a reader, I found this rather jarring and it put me off the flow of the book; as this book isn’t officially released until March 2021, I can only hope that these formatting errors will be addressed and future readers will have a much smoother reader than I did.
Having said that, and on a much more positive note, there was so much to enjoy about Future Perfect. Of particular note to me was the near-future world-building that was been created. Modern life has been over-taken with new elements of technology that are highly believable; drone delivery, software that can predict the future (among other things) driverless transportation; with day-to-day aviation transport being implemented in the near future. I find all these things firmly in the realm of science-fiction, but who is to say that they won’t be developed by the time we reach the year in which Future Perfect is set? It made the story highly imaginative but felt realistic as nothing felt too far ‘out-there’ in terms of disbelief.
As well as the thriller element to the story there is the undercurrent of personal drama – it’s no secret that two of the main characters have had a recent falling out and part of the story covers how they come to terms with their failing relationship. More-so there is a darker side to the story one of traumatic experiences. The first chapter I came across that was set during the 1980s in Montana, I wondered if I was reading the same book, these chapters have a very different feeling to them compared to the ones set in modern times and it was this chapter that really made me sit up and pay attention to what I was reading; they give the whole story its backbone and have the most surprising resolution. It is the thread that weaves the entire plot together; a plot that keeps the reader guessing.
Another place in which Future Perfect shines is the descriptions of the fashion scenes. I found these to be so well written that I could easily envision the manic chaos behind the curtain, the designs of the clothing and the emotion of the models. They were so well researched the experience of them felt real, as though I was really there as a fly-on-the-wall, the grounding in reality of them left an impression as imaginative as the creativity behind the world-building.
A wonderfully imagined and well-described near-future, science fiction thriller. With gripping, expertly developed, characters that added to both the mystery and drama of the novel and a plot is carefully revealed at just the right moments. Some fascinating concepts that offer intrigue with an easy-accessible writing style; despite the unfortunate formatting issues.