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Medical treatment determined by artificial intelligence could do more than make Hope Kestrel’s career, it could revolutionize healthcare.

What the Seattle surgeon doesn’t know is the AI has a hidden fatal flaw, and the people covering it up will stop at nothing to dominate the world’s healthcare—and its profits. Soon, Hope is made the scapegoat for a patient’s death, and only Jacie Stone, a gifted intern with a knack for computer science, is willing to help search for the truth.

But her patient’s death is only the tip of the conspiracy’s iceberg. The Director, Marah Maddox, is plotting a use for the AI far outside the ethical bounds of her physician’s oath — a staggering plan capable of reducing human lives to their DNA code, redefining the concepts of sickness and health, and delivering the power of life and death decisions into the hands of those behind the AI.

Even if the algorithm accidentally discards some who are treatable in order to make that happen…

“In her debut, Lycette explores the darkest realities about the healthcare system and what generations of the near future could potentially face if power shifts to the wrong hands. Perhaps even more gripping is how she delves into the ways grief can shape someone, causing them to make questionable decisions in the name of redemption. With nuanced characters and a truly terrifying premise, THE ALGORITHM WILL SEE YOU NOW is an ambitious debut that delivers. ” – Heather Levy, author of Anthony nominated WALKING THROUGH NEEDLES

“Both tense and topical, The Algorithm Will See You Now is a meticulously researched and deeply informed novel about the perils of where healthcare is likely heading, and the agonizing human costs involved. There are no easy decisions here, and Lycette paints a wonderfully complex portrait in an exciting debut.” – E.A. Aymar, No Home for Killers

“An AI is putting profit over life. And patients are dying. The Algorithm Will See You Now is a tense, terrifying ride that dives into prescient themes of power, control, and the corruption of Big Medicine. Here’s your wake up call. This disturbing future is closer than you think.” – L.P. Styles, author of The Molecule Thief

JL Lycette recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE ALGORITHM WILL SEE YOU NOW.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

They all came in very close sequence, but it was first plot and setting; what might happen if medical AI advanced to the point that it became integrated into clinical practice — in essence making the decisions for the doctors — in the very near-future. Based on where AI is today, this could happen sooner than the lay public might think, a “worst-case” scenario of the intersection of capitalism and the corporatization of medicine. Very close after that, I had to think on what in my characters’ pasts would make this concept plausible and desirable. For my protagonist, Dr. Hope Kestrel, she came into being as I thought about a doctor who had lost her belief in hope, yet she’s saddled with the name. For my antagonist, Dr. Marah Maddox, I had to think on how the system had harmed her, to lead her to instituting a more controlling system in the misguided belief it’s the only way to right the wrongs of the past.

JL Lycette

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I grew up reading medical and science thrillers by Michael Crichton and Robin Cook. Currently, as a medical oncologist (a doctor of cancer medicine), I’m seeing the rapid advances in genomic medicine and the integration of AI already in areas of medicine such as radiology image interpretation. Put all of that together, and my brain can’t stop thinking of possible stories.

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

The biggest challenge was that I finished revising the book (as part of the 2019 Pitch Wars mentoring program) in February 2020. Needless to say, querying a medical thriller at the start of a real-life pandemic didn’t lead to much in the way of agent or publisher interest. But that ended up also being the biggest opportunity, as after shelving it for awhile, I came back and did another huge revision, which it needed. It wouldn’t be the book it is today without having had to put it aside for a time.

Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I think the thing that surprised me the most was how difficult it was to write real-life medical scenes and make them “believable.” I had to re-write my entire opening sequence countless times because I kept receiving feedback that readers didn’t believe a woman doctor would be treated the way my character was being treated. At the same time, the accurate portrayal of women in Medicine was an important part of the book to me, and I’m proud of my cast of complex female characters. But I had to learn that in writing fiction, you have to come at it through story.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

The fictional hospital complex for “PRIMA” (Prognostic Intelligent Medical Algorithms) in the book is a combination of multiple hospitals I’ve worked at over my career in the Pacific Northwest, in both Seattle and Portland. I took some of my favorite physical aspects of those places to create a fictional medical campus in Seattle.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Robin Cook’s Coma, the O.G. medical thriller. I read it in medical school and I think it became a part of my psyche. Michael Crichton, for his ability to translate real science into believable and chilling premises. Margaret Atwood, for her portrayals of near-future societies that are only slightly off from our current one, and how a few wrong turns could lead there.


JL Lycette is a novelist, award-winning essayist, rural physician, wife, and mother. Mid-career, she discovered narrative medicine on her path back from physician burnout and has been writing ever since. She is an alumna of the 2019 Pitch Wars Mentoring program, and her published speculative fiction can be found in The Intima and the anthology “And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing: Parenting Stories Gone Speculative” (Alternating Current Press). Her first novel, THE ALGORITHM WILL SEE YOU NOW, a speculative medical thriller, is out 3/2/2023 (Black Rose Writing Press). Connect with her on Twitter @JL_Lycette, Mastodon, or her website

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