“What if your life were defined by a number?
What if any crime could be committed without punishment, so long as you could afford to pay the fee assigned to that crime?
Theo works in the Criminal Audit Office. He assesses each crime that crosses his desk and makes sure the correct debt to society is paid in full.
But when Theo’s ex-lover Dani is killed, it’s different. This is one death he can’t let become merely an entry on a balance sheet.
Because when the richest in the world are getting away with murder, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up.”
Imagine a world where every crime committed was assessed, not by a jury system and not where your punishment is jail, but where the punishment and cost of that crime is all about money and has a value to it. While reading this book, it’s quite easy to imagine how easy and realistic this world resembles our own world and how swiftly it could become our reality. A world where money is the answer to everything. What I liked about this story was the idea behind it all and that is what grasped me from the beginning and how living this life can become so normal, until it is pointed out to you. Which is what happens within this book.
Some may argue that we already live in this reality, to some extent, where the wealthy already have an upper hand when it comes to our justice system and fine themselves with and unfair advantage. But how this can be extended? If you’re one of the wealthiest people and you murder someone who society deems less than you to society, you can therefore afford to pay the indemnity of that crime. This could be the same thing in regards to assault, rape etc. The possibilities are countless. Whereas, if you’re in the opposite position in life and are from the poorer side and deemed low in society and commit a crime, then you most likely can’t afford to pay that indemnity charge. It can be something small that you may not have even realised was a crime, then you will be sent to the Patty Line. This is where you will spend your time, unless you get sponsored as someone believes you have a talent or a skill that is useful to them. You will not be paid. You will work out your sponsorship. Then you will most likely be tossed out to be replaced by somebody else from the Line who they won’t have to pay. Free labour. Slave labour!
This is a book that I had once picked up before to read as the synopsis intrigued me, but something made me put this book down. Picking this book back up and reading it again I realised why I stopped reading it and that was because of the writing style of this book. Claire North has a unique unstructured writing style within 84K, which finds sentences breaking up and restarting, new sentences starting midway through, timeline jumping back and forth without any real indication and this was just not for me. I understand it as it links in with the confusion of what’s happening and I can appreciate that extra mile, but it’s not the type of style that I enjoy. I don’t know if this is her usual writing style, especially as there are other Claire North books that I have been wanting to read.
Even though I loved the whole concept of this story and it’s what drew me in and kept me reading, the actual execution of it was a little bit of a let down. I found myself skim reading the last 100 pages in order to finally finish and complete this book once and for all. However, this hasn’t put me off reading other Claire North books as even though this particular style wasn’t for me, it matched the chaos of this book, I have read some sample chapters of another one of her books and it goes to show how versatile someone’s writing can be. So I am definitely up for reading another of her books as she does come up with some interesting concepts￼. When it comes to this book, I should’ve stuck to my gut and not picked it back up, as it did put me in a weird reading slump because it felt like I was being dragged through it. However, I do weirdly feel a small sense of accomplishment by completing 84K as this has been a book on my “currently reading” shelf for a while now and it’s honestly a book I thought I wouldn’t complete.