Dis­rup­tion

For fans of Tom Clancy and Robert Lud­lum, Dis­rup­tion is an ab­so­lute yes.

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction - CLAIRE FOSTER

Chuck Bar­rett Switch­back Press Soft­cover(406pp) 978-0-9885061-8-3

Things that thriller nov­els are not: po­lit­i­cally cor­rect. Things that thriller nov­els are: fast­paced, sweat-in­duc­ing, heart-pump­ing. Dis­rup­tion, the lat­est shot of adren­a­line from best-sell­ing au­thor Chuck Bar­rett, gets top marks in both cat­e­gories. Dis­rup­tion is true to its genre and de­liv­ers a sat­is­fy­ing punch.

Dis­rup­tion is set in the im­me­di­ate fu­ture: an age when cy­bert­er­ror­ists net­work on Twit­ter, ditch trace­able IP ad­dresses, and take down gov­ern­ment tech sup­port with the click of a but­ton. Black-hat and white-hat hack­ers bat­tle for con­trol over an underworld that trades code the way car­tels swap bricks of co­caine. Jake Pendle­ton, a for­mer naval-in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer turned se­cret op­er­a­tive, turns up in time to pen­e­trate the mys­te­ri­ous world of cy­ber­crime.

Hav­ing saved the day in Bar­rett’s ear­lier nov­els Breach of Power, The Toy­maker, and The Sa­van­nah Project, Jake is al­ready warmed up and ready to roll. As­sisted by his pre­dictably lovely part­ner Francesca Cataranzo, Jake heads for Italy to track down a hacker named The Jew. Racial stereo­types abound: there seems to be a swarthy ter­ror­ist, a ruth­less mer­ce­nary, and a pinkie-ring­wear­ing king­pin on ev­ery page. How­ever, Bar­rett sticks with the facts, and while the plot twists may be a bit pre­dictable, that doesn’t di­min­ish the speed of this page-turner one bit.

Bar­rett’s de­scrip­tions of how pro­gram­ming works at the cy­ber level are com­pelling and clear, de­tailed enough to cre­ate ten­sion but not overly tech­ni­cal—as with the Col­lar, a neotech tor­ture de­vice, “a ring of prongs ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing an elec­tric shock to the host [with] an ex­plo­sive com­pound “inside. With a mas­ter’s touch, Bar­rett leaves lit fuses in ev­ery chap­ter, build­ing to an ex­plo­sive con­clu­sion.

Though the novel may not break new ground, it is cur­rent and ex­tremely provoca­tive in a post9/11 cul­ture where tech­nol­ogy and tech crime are hard facts in our in­creas­ingly para­noid world. For fans of Tom Clancy and Robert Lud­lum, Dis­rup­tion is an ab­so­lute yes.

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