By Drew Murray
One night, Los Angeles-based FBI Special Agent Will Parker is picked up in the middle of the night and flown to the Midwest to help on a case. You see, a vendor of collectibles is killed at a Comic Con event. Not notable in and of itself but when a radioactive signature is picked up at the victim’s hotel, the FBI is called in. Will’s expertise is needed, as the signature matches that of something he’s intimately familiar with. A former CEO from Silicon Valley before becoming a Special Agent with the FBI’s Cyber Division, Will is the only person alive known to have seen the Fukushima Unicorn, a tiny quantum computer that will revolutionize technology – or put unstoppable power into the hands of any government to lay its hands on it. Now he must join the local PD to help solve the murder, find the Fukushima Unicorn, and also, find a kidnapped victim.
Review/Recommendation: I don’t read a lot of mystery or suspense novels any more but I picked this one up and couldn’t put it down. It was entertaining, light, fast-paced. The plot was a fun mix of mystery and adventure with a hefty dose of cyber, something increasingly relative to society today. Even better? The way the three crimes were intertwined but seemingly separate was fascinating – I definitely couldn’t have predicted how the crimes would be solved.
The good guys in the novel were likable – Will a bit dorky but super witty, personable and innovative. He’s an impressive figure but still manages to be low-key, the best friend that you’d want to get drinks with and while away the afternoon. His partner for the case brisk and a little dense, which made me giggle at a few parts. The entire cast of characters were totally different from one another but had an easy banter among them (well, most of them), that made them feel real.
By contrast, the bad guys in the book were all pretty vague – stereotypical Russian assassins, a unknown Chinese hacker, some sketchy tech people at Comic Con… But it worked. It let me, the reader, use my imagination a bit and the lack of depth didn’t take away from the story.
Broken Genius is a good, quick read – a break from real life – to lose yourself in this fall. Pick it up, check it out.