The Hotchkiss by Pierre Lawrence has an interesting premise at its heart: a GPS system that can do more than just navigate. There is a price, of course but it may just be worth your while to get it.
This is where Charles finds himself, after becoming lost on his way to an Italian restaurant with his wife, Alice and relying on the very outdated assistance of a map to get him there. Alice is a bit of a scold and Charles tries to please her by submitting to her wishes but as his life goes on, he is finding her criticism and lack of positivity wearing. He decides that a GPS device recommended to him called the Hotchkiss could be a useful purchase to guide them on their upcoming trip to Lake Placid and may just help relieve some of the tension in their marriage with a view to directing them to a happier place by taking away the minor gripes that build and compound, like arguing over travel directions.
The story follows Charles as he purchases the Hotchkiss and discovers just what it can offer him, which is perhaps more than he ever thought possible.
Reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s short stories and the British TV series Tales of the Unexpected as well as The Twilight Zone, I have to say that I liked this novella very much. Lawrence’s authorial voice is wry as it describes Charles’ thought processes as he cogitates on whether the Hotchkiss is what he really needs. Some of the suggestions made during the course of his deliberation are darkly humorous and just this side of naughty to be inoffensive. The story progresses and unfolds at a good rate with just the right suggestion of something that could be marginally more sinister to keep you guessing.
If I have one criticism, it is in some of the detail given about what the device can do as I felt that the descriptions probably could be less involved and the story would still have been as good. However, this is a minor point all in all.
This is light reading so, as a reader, it can be quickly devoured.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read this as an ARC.