Killware by Tim Hawken - Book Review

Series: Thrill Switch (Book #0.5)

Genre: Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk

Pages: 117 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: December 12th, 2023 by Seahawk Press

Review Date: 12/28/2023

Tags: #timhawken #sci-fi #cyberpunk #indie

Killware delivers a thrilling cyberpunk story packed into 100 pages of 100 words each that I could not put down.


I first became introduced to Hawken’s work by again…randomly scrolling on Twitter/X. I swear, I have found some of my top fantasy and sci-fi reads this year while randomly scrolling the internet.

So you know what I did, I bought the book. I read the book. I loved the book.

What pulled me was the cover of Thrill Switch that had an aesthetic that was simply working for me. I am a huge fan of the Cyberpunk genre reading books like Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep so I am always on the hunt for new books within the genre. The cover of Thrill Switch was drenched in neon within a gritty looking city and had an ominous red eyed person standing staring directly back at us. I was SOLD!

The book that I am reviewing today, Killware, is actually a prequel novella to Hawken’s main cyberpunk novel Thrill Switch.

I must have read Thrill Switch at the exact right time because Hawken just launched his Kickstarter campaign for Killware a few days after I read the main novel. Coincidence? Probably, but I was all for it and excited to back another book in the Thrill Switch universe.


Killware is a prequel novella coming in right around 100 pages that also includes some fantastic artwork from Megan Mushi. You can read this novella first before starting Thrill Switch to get a good taste of what to expect in Hawken’s main novel.

What makes this novella even more interesting is its format. This book is made up of 100 chapters of 100 words each. This really intrigued me to see how Hawken could accomplish telling a “complete” story in only 100 word blocks.

I really enjoyed the universe Hawken set up in Thrill Switch where we traversed a dystopian future in the dark and gritty world of the Holos, a virtual world where hundreds of thousands of people live their daily lives.

Thrill Switch was an excellent “who done it” story placed within a cyberpunk setting. I am already a huge fan of detective/investigation stories where we slowly uncover clue after clue trying to piece together who committed the crime. Having this setup in addition to a cyberpunk setting in the future? Yes please!

I was happy to see that Killware had a similar “who done it” plot but taking place years before any of the events that we read about in the main novel.

Can an compelling cyberpunk murder mystery be told within 100 world blocks? Well, you can see my thoughts below.


“Detective Bram Tedeschi would rather punch scumbags faces than punch buttons on a keyboard. But when two VR gamers turn up electrocuted in their haptic suits, he’s forced to investigate a world he knows nothing about.”

Killware starts off within a nightmare. Not a nightmare in the typical sense, but the POV we are first introduced to is playing a VR game called “Nightmare” where unfortunately, he does not make it back into reality.

Then enter our main character for the rest of the our story, Bram Tedeschi who is a detective on the search to find out how somebody got fried while playing a game within the Holos. Also just for a quick reference, the Holos is a name for the virtual reality world that a mass amount of people log into sometimes barely ever logging out into “reality”.

Right off the bat, in the first chapter of 100 words I could tell that I was in for a treat. A rapid treat where every single word had a vital role to play in helping me get immersed into this dystopian world.

World building, realistic dialogue, character progression, and most of all…a plot! Can all this really be packed into 100 word blocks?

Yes, 100%!

I truly think it’s incredibly impressive what Hawken was able to accomplish here in Killware where he effectively told a thrilling and engaging story within a format that I have never read before.

The 100 word format also made the entirety of the read feel like I was running a 100 meter dash with how rapid you get through the story. This is a story that you can definitely read through in a single sitting as, well each chapter is only 100 words each.

I found myself really rooting for our main character, Bram Tedeschi as his dialogue was full of personality while leaving a lot to speculate on. Throughout the story we eventually learn more and more about Bram, even his secret “addictions”.

Throughout the plot of the story, I was presented with so many twists and turns that I could not predict at all. I thought it was also great to see some returning characters, well I guess not “returning” in a sequential sense but characters that play a pivotal role in the main installment, Thrill Switch.

I was also super impressed that I felt that I was in the streets and Holos with our main character trying to solve this case as there was fantastic visual imagery of the surroundings, the victims, the tech within this world.

I rate Killware 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to any cyberpunk or noir fan. Hawken pushed the boundaries as to what I usually expect to find within a novella delivering a “complete” story told in 100 word blocks.

“A nightmare come to life”

If you are interested in learning more about Killware or Thrill Switch and more of Hawken's work, you can check out his site for updates & news HERE.

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