Note: I received a free galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Stuart Garrison, a brilliant virtual reality software developer, has his company poised on the threshold of industry dominance with the release of his newest virtual reality system-Next World. Among his competitors is Preston McBraid, the cutthroat CEO of a rival company. McBraid realizes that if he does not own Next World, his company is bound to lose its premier position atop the computer industry. Driven by desperation and greed, McBraid hires the notorious Nomed, a highly sought-after assassin who commands millions to kill a target. The FBI learns of the assassination plot and intervenes to protect Stuart. He in turn quickly augments the FBI team, hiring two security specialists as additional defense: a monster of a man, nicknamed Superman-and Alex Nichols, an expert in the field of security. Stuart clings desperately to the hope that he can make it though the onslaught of Nomed’s assassination attempts. If he does, his next ingenious virtual reality product-Mind Games-will blow the world away with its originality and staggering mass appeal, and catapult Stuart to the top of the computer industry as its reigning czar, and make him a billionaire many times over. In this gripping suspense thriller, the wannabe czar of the computer industry is unwittingly catapulted into a deadly cat-and-mouse game against the infamous Nomed, and only time will tell who is clever enough to survive. (Summary via Amazon.com)
Let me start with the good news. This book is well written. The author definitely has a talent for making the story come to life, creating tension and a drive to see what will happen next. As you can see from the Amazon summary above, there’s a lot of tension and excitement to go around.
However, I had several problems with this book. First and foremost, practically all of the characters were male stereotypes, the kinds of guys you’d find in an action movie or a thriller. They were rich businessmen who cheated on their wives, FBI agents who smoked in their offices, assassins who used others to get what they wanted. The only women in the book were characterized by their similarities or contrast to the men—one gave her life and soul to a man she loved, who slept with her and strung her along simply for the benefits she provided him; another kicked butt but was constantly remarked upon because no one thought a woman could do what she does.
This alone made my enjoyment of the book considerably less than what it could have been, but there were a few other problems as well. The book teeters on the edge of racism and classism at times, and it is unclear whether we are supposed to agree with the characters’ beliefs or not when they start to cross this line.
The story itself was interesting, but it had too many problems for me to really get into it. Maybe you’ll enjoy it—the writing really is good—but it wasn’t for me.
Rating: Not My Cup of Tea