I was sent a compimentary copy of this book by the author – thank you very much! That fact didn’t influence my review in any way.
How careful are you with what you say in a phone call? In a text message? Are you strict enough to never reveal personal information in an email, or on Facebook? Most people aren’t. One Day Charlie, a young Australian computer nerd working for a small company called mBition, finds out that unimportant details you can gather while trailing through somebody’s Facebook or Twitter profile or hacking their mobile phone can make all the difference.
When the offices of his company are burgled and his co-worker murdered, Charlie loses his job and income practically from one day to the next. His anxiety issues raise their ugly head as he, basically, has two options: wail in despair or find the perpetrators. He decides to wail of course (who wouldn’t) until one kick-ass woman called Mel enters his world and make him turn over a new leaf. There will be blood…I mean SQL injections galore.
What I liked:
– Well fleshed-out characters of Charlie and Mel, really something I need to see in thrillers of any kind more, won me over pretty quickly; they had a sense of humour, common sense as well, and they never hesitated to use it. Neither of them was model handsome/pretty. What a relief.
– The location: Australia and Japan, with a short stint in the US of A.
– The reversal of roles: Mel, the older, more experienced woman, is muscle and financial back-up while Charlie a decade younger computer whizz, is manning brains and ideas department.
– No romantic vibes between two main leads really made my day. They became friends, just friends and nothing but friends – nice, original and easy but so rare!
– The author managed to include a very big chunk of digital knowledge about the Internet, programming and hacking without resorting to strew the text with ugly, obnoxious infodups – chapeaux bas! It was made possible because Mel was so sweetly behind when it came to her IT lessons.
– Charlie and Mel used to be Metallica fans, yay! Seeing Opeth’s Ghost of Perdition mentioned in the text I went all mushy.
What I didn’t like:
– Near the ending the novel somehow lost its steam; it was around the time Charlie and Mel went to Japan and another POV, that of Mike, was introduced, along with a team of secondary characters; they were needed but simply not as interesting as the pair of main protagonists.
– I wish the main baddie – “Big Boss”, a megalomaniac with an overinflated ego – was more prominent in the plot. His story is told only at the end and it is a pity.
– The ending could have been more ‘bitter-sweet’. As it was, it reeked a bit of ‘Cinderella’ (but no, no wedding).
A surprisingly interesting and well-written thriller concerning the Internet freedom of speech and the limits you want to go to preserve it. Not only its author knows his way round the digital era tech-speak and is able to weave it into a good story he also managed somehow to avoid plenty of more obnoxious thriller clichés – yes, it can be done, people! Anyway I am so happy I gave it a chance! The book was hardly flawless but still it remains easily one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year!