Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published May 23rd, 2016 by DLW Publishing
It was a while ago since I’ve read a thriller and I’m usually happily surprised when I notice I’m turning the pages quickly to find out what happens next. “Why don’t I read more of these?!”, is something I ask myself then. Only to wait another 6-12 months before starting the next one. Ah, the intricate mind of a bookworm!
What if the one thing meant to keep you alive was used to kill you?
Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm’s breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses onto the stage, stunning the conference attendees.
Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.
My experience with this one started off nicely. I was sucked into the story and totally creeped out about the Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker. Imagine people being able to fiddle around with your heart rate while you’re just totally helpless. It’s almost like magic, where an evil wizard (or a Star Wars Sith Lord) is able to stop your heart by the power of thought/telekinesis. Except, unlike magic, this is an existing piece of technology in the real world and could be a genuine threat to some of us.You can read more about it in this article which was published in Science.
So we’ve seen this concept before in an episode of Homeland in which Vice President William Walden is assassinated by a terrorist who hacks into his internet-enabled pacemaker and accelerates his heartbeat until he has a heart attack. This book takes the whole thing a couple of steps further and I have to say, kudos to the author here for delving into such a frightening subject!
Aren’t there any ‘buts’? Of course, there are; you all know I’m a feisty nitpicker when it comes to books!
The cons for me:
Too many details
There’s a scene in which Jack is feeding his dog in full detail. I thought there was a point to it, but nope, just feeding the dog. Then, there’s this scene:
“Now, go have a seat in the living room and relax. I think there’s a new Popular Science in there. I’m making some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.”
“And garlic bread?”
“I thought that’s what I smelled. I can’t wait. I’m going to turn on the Red Sox game. Let me know if you need help.”
“I’ve got it. You just relax”
I think this is just a toe-cringing piece of dialogue with way too many details in it. The fact that Jack has just had a heart attack and an attack on his pacemaker a couple of pages before this scene takes place, simply makes it very improbable to have a trivial conversation about meatballs and the Red Sox with your wife like this. Might just be me, though!
There are quite a few of these, actually. Gaps of missing information or things just not adding up. At one point, Jack’s wife isn’t informed about anything because “it would only make her worry too much”. And then, all of a sudden, Jack and Cynthia are coming up with a plan together to get to the perps. One would think that telling his wife about it in between would be something worth mentioning?
Then there are Jack’s two sons who just randomly pop up whenever the story requires it. Especially his youngest son, who is just playing Minecraft on his laptop upstairs all day? While this is not unrealistic behaviour in itself (been there!), it’s more the fact that when shit really hits the fan, the boy just continues to be up in his room. And left alone after someone else in the house has been kidnapped. Which brings me to the next con.
The side characters are pretty underdeveloped. I couldn’t connect with them at all because they were as unpredictable as a wasp after a glass of Cuban coffee. Yet at the same time, some characters were too predictable when it comes to remaining at the same location for the mere sake of it being convenient for the storyline.
As already mentioned up here, the dialogues were toe-cringingly bad at times. It wasn’t of a Fifty Shades of Grey level, mind you, but just…off. Like a badly performed play.
Sometimes, things just didn’t make sense at all or were being too far fetched for me to remain fully absorbed in the story.After seeing all these cons, you must be thinking this is a pretty crappy book. But I wouldn’t take it that far. It kept me entertained and especially the first half was a rollercoaster of page flipping emotions. Like a good thriller is supposed to be. It’s why I’m giving it 2.5 brownies, meaning my rating is somewhere between ‘it was okay’ and ‘I liked it’. If you’re not a die-hard thriller fan, but instead rather unfamiliar with the genre, I can definitely recommend giving this one a go. Uncomplicated entertainment with a scary concept to ponder on afterwards (and during). If you’re already reading a lot of thrillers, you should probably skip this one because it wouldn’t add up to your high standards.
Very interesting concept. A bit poorly executed at times, though. Recommended for mystery/crime newbies and people in want of a fast paced read.
Thanks to Jeffrey Monaghan for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!
Another take on this book can be found @ Ajoobacatsblog.
Links to the book: