Synapse Guest Review from Mindy Houng

Synapse FB banner About the Book

Book: Synapse

Author: Steven James

Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi

Release Date: October 8, 2019

cover SynapseThirty years in the future, when AI is so advanced that humans live side by side with cognizant robots called Artificials, Kestrel Hathaway must come to terms not just with what machines know, but what they believe. Is hope real for them, or merely an illusion?

Soon after experiencing a personal tragedy, Kestrel witnesses a terrorist attack and is drawn into a world of conspiracies and lies that she and Jordan, her Artificial, have to untangle. With a second, more brutal attack looming on the horizon, their best chance of stopping it is teaming up with federal counterterrorism agent Nick Vernon.

But the clock is ticking—and all the while, Jordan is asking questions that Artificials were never meant to ask.

Deftly weaving suspense and intrigue into a rich, resonant tale that explores faith and what it really means to be human, Steven James offers us a glimpse into the future and into our own hearts.

Synapse is an unforgettable, gripping story of dreams shattered, truth revealed, and hope reborn.


Click here to get your copy!


Guest Review from Mindy Houng

“Life is so precious and brief and fleeting, and… experiencing all that it has to offer without despairing at its brevity truly did lie at its heart.”
Wow, what an incredible and powerful sci-fi thriller from Steven James! This is the first book by the author I have read and I am stunned by his creativity, his flawless execution of a detailed and complex plot, and his seamless and emotion-packed writing style that grips you from page one and doesn’t let go. The philosophical, spiritual, and social questions and dilemmas the author raises through an intensely personal look at a world 30 years into the future, where artificial intelligence is so advanced to look human, will linger days after you finish the book. This thought-provoking novel about the essence of human-ness – addressing grief and suffering, faith and hope, love and forgiveness, and the afterlife – will resonate with everyone, not just fans of sci-fi or thrillers. It is one of the most captivating and stirring novels of 2019 and an absolute must-read.
The story is written in multiple points of view:
1) first person narrative from Kestrel, a Methodist pastor suffering from losing her daughter
2) third person present omniscient narrative from Jordan, Kestrel’s artificial companion and
3) third person narratives from Nick, the police officer tracking down domestic terrorists, and a couple of the villains/terrorists working to violently destroy the next innovation
The multiple points of view bring the plot together on a larger scale and enhance the reading experience rather than confuse or detract. The three major characters Kestrel, Nick, and Jordan are multi-layered and well-developed and their interactions truly tug at the heart-strings. Who would have thought that interaction between an artificial intelligence and a human would bring tears? But be prepared. Jordan is nothing like any robot you’ve met and he WILL make you cry.
I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

About the Author

stevenjamesSteven James is the critically acclaimed, national bestselling author of sixteen novels. His work has been optioned by ABC Studios and praised by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books, and many others. His pulse-pounding, award-winning thrillers are known for their intricate storylines and insightful explorations of good and evil.  When he’s not working on his next book, he’s either teaching master classes on writing throughout the country, trail running, or sneaking off to catch a matinee.


More from Steven

“James is a pro at creating suspense.”

Criminal Element


“stimulating tale…thrilling story of greed and corruption”

Publishers Weekly STARRED review


Read my op-ed on robots and faith in the New York Times


I grew up reading and loving science fiction stories. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of artificial intelligence, but as I’ve thought about it over the years, I’ve realized that our lives are not based just on what we know, but also what we believe. So, I started asking myself, “What would the world look like if machines developed artificial belief?” Within a few decades, advanced AIs might very well have consciousness and self-awareness. At that point, what will they choose to believe about the meaning of live, God, and the afterlife?

All of these questions were in my mind as I wrote Synapse, a story that takes place 30 years from now in a world very much like our own. This is a cautionary tale with implications that are both chilling and revealing and I think that if you like suspense, you’ll love this near-future thriller.


Learn more at

Facebook and Twitter: @readstevenjames

Buy the book:

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