01/05/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Quercus Publishing Plc. 520 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84724-961-6.
check out websites: www.quercusbooks.co.uk and http://thedaemon.com
If you want a techno-thriller heavily laced with Science Fiction that shows some smart thinking then you might consider the first book of a series of two by Daniel Suarez. The Daemon of the book title is the legacy of Matthew Sobol, an on-line computer game programmer who died of brain cancer, an apparent artificial intelligence with its own set of instructions. Amongst these is to recruit people for its own ends, develop unmanned transport and generally create havoc around the USA. At least, that is as far as can be seen by the security agencies who try to contain it at Sobol's own elaborate home which becomes a death trap for many of the police officers who try to close it down. The Daemon merely uses it as a demonstration of flexing its muscles and then incriminates the surviving detective, Pete Sebeck, of conspiracy and placed on death row. A consultant and games expert, using the unlikely name of Jonathan Ross - which gets reduced to Jon Ross - but is actually an ex-Russian, again changes identity to avoid being caught by anyone and goes on the run himself. Into this mix are a variety of characters that you see their parts develop and sometimes get brutally killed. Can't tell you whom. You don't know who's watching. What I can tell you is that this book ends on an incredible chase that would be worthy of a film and definitely edge of the seat.
The Daemon is intelligent and ruthless. So, too, are the people it employs and if they aren't, then it knows what strings to pull to keep them in-line or on-line as the case might be. It helps immensely that author Daniel Suarez is a computer consultant in real life and draws upon his experience and applies it throughout this story. The fact that it is only one step away from our reality makes it all the more scary. You might never look at your computer games the same way ever again. A brilliant read. If you'll excuse me. I have a date with the second book.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA