Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words
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Born and raised in Boston, David Haskell now lives with his wife and daughter near Tokyo, Japan. This is his first novel.
“In a world overshadowed by the impendence of terrorism, with pandemics threatening an equal measure of havoc, Thermo-Magnetic Imaging machines represent a seemingly perfect solution. But as privacy and health concerns grow ever more complex, this cutting edge technology delivers more than anyone had bargained for. While the forces behind the scenes fight to conceal their true agenda, the public struggles to cope with a new paradigm so invasive their innermost secrets are laid bare under its powerful lens.
Rob Folsom is a civil liberties activist, a staunch defender of privacy rights. Rosa Perez, a government agent specializing in surveillance, seems an unlikely candidate for him to represent. As Rob is pulled into her world of high-tech spying, corporate intrigue, and black ops government agencies, he becomes caught in a perilous game of cat and mouse. As the target of interest switches from client to advocate, Rob has to find a way to stop them before they sabotage everything he has worked for...”
The concept of this near future technothriller is a good one. With recent revelations about the actions of the NSA, if you can picture the technology depicted as being on the near horizon (not that big a stretch), it is both timely and credible. The potential for a good story is here.
However, the story as delivered fell short of that potential. The reasons are three-fold. First, is the technical, with more polish needed to shake out the numerous typos and grammar errors.
The second area are issues of writing craft, with multiple instances of head hopping, a tendency to tell something that should have been shown, and a character or the narrator magically knowing something that they couldn’t.
The final area of concern were things happening that made no sense. Some were minor. For example when the protagonist saw a squirrel hop from a tree branch as his car was crashing into the tree. Another was a sequence where a couple of the characters had to attend a meeting, sneak into another part of a building (which involves bypassing a security measure to get there), break into a computer, locate and download some files from that computer, and get out of the building, all in thirty minutes. I’m not sure which was less believable, that the characters thought they could do this or that they managed to do it without getting caught.
Others were major, at least to me. For example during a court case a judge allowed the protagonist, Rob, to call a “rebuttal witness” in the middle of the other side putting on their case. Anyone who has watched more than one or two fictional court cases in a movie or on a TV show would be left scratching their head, wondering when the rules changed.
Some adult language.
A large number of proofing and copy editing issues.
Rating: ** Two stars