Friday, November 5, 2010
Today on Raging Bibliomania, we have a little something different. A few months ago, I approached my husband, Frank, and asked him if he would like to take a shot at reviewing a book for me. I let him choose the book and was really excited that he was going to be participating in this blogging thing I love so much. Though Frank is a pretty creative guy, he's never really willingly done what amounts to a book report for fun before, so I was both pleased and eager to see what he had to think about his choice, STORM by Dave Pearson. I'd like to share his review with you today and hope that in the future you will again see the occasional review from Frank. So here he is, discussing STORM.
John Newark has a past he thought was long forgotten. Now after twenty uneventful years, it's caught up to him. The leader of STORM, the hacking group he belonged to at age fifteen and which he believed fell apart when one of their number was arrested, has found and recruited him to finish the job that was started two decades ago. But this hack isn't about downloading the next blockbuster video game before it's released. The target is Compound 5, a top-secret, high-security military installation in the South Pacific with a direct link to the U.S. Intelligence Community's secure intranet, the Intelink. And unlike most hacks, this one will require the team's physical presence on-site. This pits STORM against the military's most elite counter-terrorism unit, the Navy SEALs DEVGRU. Packed with realistic depictions of military resources and operations, STORM promises to be an edge-of-your-seat cyber thriller.
I'm a computer geek with very little interest in things military. I was expecting a cyber-thriller with a military flavor, which I thought would be interesting. The book is actually, in my opinion, a military account of a computer intrusion with a good deal of first-person exposition from the intruder's perspective for flavor. As one might guess, I didn't particularly enjoy it.
What mainly turned me off was that much of it was written like a military account, laden with detail . Even the most minor characters were identified by full name (and rank), making each and every one look like they have an important role to fill. Commander Christopher Toms, a forty-five year old special warfare veteran, has about a dozen lines in one scene and is never heard from again. I can only assume he's unmarried, as there's no mention of a family.
That's not to say the entire book was un-enjoyable. I did find the chapters focusing on STORM to be interesting. Although some of the tech was pure fiction, it was mostly grounded in reality and read well. Newark is a believable and likable protagonist even if the supporting characters aren't as fully developed. Even the military-focused chapters weren't poorly done. They could be the most authentic portrayals in the book, for all I know.
This novel is billed as a cyber-thriller, which is why I agreed to review it, but its target audience is definitely military enthusiasts. As such, it wasn't a very good read for me but I think it would be a hit with its intended audience. If you self-identify as a computer geek, don't be fooled; stay away.
This book was provided as a complimentary review copy.
Posted by Frank Figearo at 8:00 AM