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