Friday, November 5, 2010

STORM by Dave Pearson — 290 pgs

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.


Amy said...

Great to see a review from Frank! Definitely doesn't sound like the book for me as I'm not big into military OR advanced computer tech. But it does sound like it would work well for some people. Great review!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Go, Frank! Great review, and although I like military stories at times (think Lone Survivor or even Clancy), I don't think this is the book for me either!

Now if I could get my husband to do this same thing...!

bermudaonion said...

It's great to see your sweet, supportive husband on here! Frank, your review is fantastic - it let me know that book is not for me.

My sister is going to do a few guest reviews for me - I got the first one from her today.

Suko said...

I don't think I'd enjoy a military account that much either.

Zibilee, my daughters have helped with reviews before but not my husband. Frank's review is clear and concise.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love reviews that expose books I wouldn't like, thereby adding to my time to read books I *will* like! ...especially because this is one I would have been apt to pick up because it *does* seem like it would be a cyber thriller. But the military orientation - ugh. Thanks for the great review!

Jenners said...

What a coup! I don't think I could get my husband to review a book for my blog for anything! When he reads a book (and it isn't often), his highest praise is "It's OK."

So good job to both of you. Sorry this was too military and not thrillerary.

Melissa M said...

There is no way I could get my hubby to read a book, let alone blog about it. :)

My brother isn't much of a reader, but with the military, he might actually read it.

KYR said...

I just happened to come across Franks review and wanted to say a few things about the book STORM. First, I have never written a review or even commented on a book I have read. However, I cant help myself but to give a different perspective on the intended audience for STORM.

I would have to say the majority of the books I read would fit in the category of "Oprah's Book Club" list. So when the book STORM was presented to me I was not too eager to read it. My husband being of a military background and a little of a computer geek loved the book and this was even more of a reason why I thought it was not for me.

After much debate, I began reading STORM. In the beginning chapters, I thought it was going to be too computer techno for me and was longing a little to read my new Jennifer Wiener book I had just purchased but then it happened.. I got hooked. I honestly couldnt believe it myself. STORM presented such a suspenseful story that I stayed up till the wee hours finishing the book. I cant remember the last time I stayed up till the wee hours finishing any book! It was literally a book I couldnt put down especially when they entered the island. Each page left you hurrying to the next with surprises along the way. STORM left me thinking for days about the events leading up to the island and how it ended... leaving it open for part 2.

My whole point is that the "intended audience" is not really for someone interested in military OR computer stuff ONLY. My husband got more out of the military and computer lingo than I did but the story and the suspense is what is for everyone else.

So if you are someone like me and enjoys reading Oprah's Book List, Jennifer Weiner's books, suspense novels and just a book that takes you on a journey I would tell you to try STORM. Dont get scared away from the military and computer description that initially made me put the book aside.... it's worth the read.

Amy said...

I'm not at all well-versed in military things...or versed at all. Since this book doesn't do a greta job at informing readers who the target audience really is or what type of reader would be most comfortable with this book, I appreciate your cando Frank. I enjoyed your post about this book and I don't expect I will read it.
But I hope you will continue to review books periodically!

~ Amy

Jenny said...

LOL Heather, I never really thought of it as a book report for fun, but you're so right haha!!!!

Frank, great review! That's disappointing that you didn't like it so much... the synopsis made it sound great. My mom is really into military type books so I'm thinking she might really like this..

Literary Feline said...

Great review, Frank! The premise does sound interesting, but I can see why it might lose some of its appeal considering how it's written. I don't know if this is one my dad would like (he is a military enthusiast), but it might be one I can recommend to him.

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