by Kerry Drewery
A world where justice and the fate of those accused of murder is decided by the public, but has moved on from the Roman Gladiator 'thumbs up or thumbs down' public vote, to a public vote by telephone. If you are voted innocent you are set free; if you are voted guilty you are committed to death by electric chair. Those awaiting their sentence reside in ever decreasing cells, getting smaller each day, until Day 7 and Cell 7, where they hear their fate.
Sixteen year old Martha has confessed to killing a famous celebrity. But has she done it? And if not, why has she claimed the murder? Perhaps she wants to show up the flawed and brutal system by sacrificing herself in the hope of a better world....
Or perhaps she is protecting somebody else...
Cell 7 is a fine piece alternative fiction. As with the best dystopian novels it’s a world that reflects the ills of our own. A world where criminal justice is determined by a reality TV format, in which the power is with the wealthy and the rest have their human rights in the wealthy's hands - and, of course, corruption is everywhere, automation is replacing human values and celebrity still reigns.
Teenager Martha arrives in Cell 1, having been accused of, and admitting to, murder. Over the next seven days her trial will be followed on TV. Then, on day 7, it’s Cell 7, when the accused is set to discover her fate live on television. Will it be a trip to the electric chair? The rich decide!
Martha comes from a flat in ‘the rises’, an avoid-or-else part of the city. She might have admitted to killing a millionaire but all may not be as it seems. Can we trust what we see on TV?
The story has an original feel despite obvious echoes of The Truman Show. In part this is because of the fresh structure and telling of the story. Different characters are heard from and the reader sees what the audience see too. Clever.
The system may suck but there will always be those wanting change. Roll cameras.
Published by Hot Key Books, Cell 7 will appeal to many readers, from fans of 1984 to YA readers of The Hunger Games.
About Kerry Drewery:
Kerry lives in Lincolnshire between the countryside and the sea. She has a first class honours degree in Professional Writing, has worked for BookStart, and been a finalist in a BBC Scriptwriting for children competition. She's a proud member of Author Allsorts and The Prime Writers.
Apart from the sensible stuff, Kerry likes to run, bike and swim, and has previously spent 12 hours running over the Humber Bridge again and again... She also swims in lakes in winter in a bikini.
She is also the co-coordinator of the UKYA Extravaganza events with author Emma Pass which bring readers, authors and bloggers together to celebrate UKYA talent.