I’m back with a review, and a lot earlier than I thought I would be. I have a new format for reviews debuting. This book is titled Disruption, and was written by Chuck Barrett.
From the Back: There are two types of people: those who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don’t know it. Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless. Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos—tag named Disruption. After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow the clues—a trail of dead bodies that leads them across Europe. Along the way, Jake discovers a possible link between recent hacks and a Malaysian airliner that mysteriously disappeared. In the final adrenaline-charged moments before Disruption, Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction against their sworn mortal enemy.
Cover: When it comes to the mystery and suspense genre, actually, when it comes to the mass-market paperback subset of publishing in general, the covers start to blend together. You’ll notice that, after a while, all of John Grisham’s novels will start to blend together. The same is true for other big names, such as Dan Brown or James Patterson. You need something to differentiate your book from the rest, and the cover of Disruption was designed expertly. The very first thing you notice is the author’s name, followed by the title. The rest of the cover is centered in between the two, and is able to convey the main plot points while still catching the eye. The continent Europe is where much of the novel is set. The use of binary (0s and 1s) lets you know it will be a cyber-espionage story, and the use of the color red signifies an impending crisis. This is definitely one of the more well-designed covers in the genre.
Content: The plot of the book took me by surprise with its constant referencing current events, although I’m used to fantasy and YA novels set in entirely fake towns, countries, and earths. It was refreshing, then, to see things that I knew referenced in a work of fiction. (Real-world events such as North Korea hacking Sony, ISIS, and multiple other plot points that are thinly-veiled copies of events such as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared).
There were multiple points in the book itself where it seemed like the author was simply trying to meet a page count. That can be forgiven, however, by the quality of the filler. For example, there is a multi-page chase scene that served only as filler, but was still quality writing, even if it did not advance the plot.
And on the topic of plot, what a plot. I have started reading cyber-warfare thrillers recently, and this book has made me wonder what took me so long. The book’s plot is quick, with twists and cliffhangers every couple chapters (There are 68 chapters). Chuck Barrett kept me on my toes the entire time. Even in the last few pages, there were multiple plot twists, requiring me to pay close attention.
Characters: The characters created by Chuck Barrett are unique, and each has their own, different motivations. The book shifts to follow a separate character every few chapters, and eventually, the many protagonists and antagonists will blend. By the end of the book I was unable to remember if the hacker The Jew and the hacker named Boris were the same person or not. The book could have definitely benefited from having fewer repeating characters.
Overall Rating: 14/15
Letter Grade: A
If you want to buy the book, you can buy it from Amazon here.
My next review will be of Polly, by Stephen Goldin
Disclaimer: I received this book for free through NetGalley. I was not paid for this review, and will never accept payment for a review. This is an honest and unbiased review.