Scared of computers? You still won’t be if you read this

Written by
Jeffery Deaver in 2001

Who the hell still uses floppy disks? In all honesty, I shouldn’t have read this in 2015, when USB is now the standard for convenient data transfer. Back in 2001 though, this book would have been absolutely technically relevant.

The story begins with a woman getting murdered in a parking lot. As the police investigate, it beceomes obvious that the perpetrator is not your usual serial killer. He’s armed with information gleaned from the internet, and I don’t mean he used Google.

The serial killer is Phate (or if you prefer his real name, Jon Holloway), who’s a hacker gone so insane, that he can’t differentiate between the real world and the world of online computer games. He loves his computers so much that he actually seeks to stab people in the real world to gain points in an online murder game.

Well, at least the author didn’t blame Grand Theft Auto for the madness, unlike most others.

As you read on, you find lots and lots of immediate problems as the story moves from set piece to set piece. Firstly, Phate is so smart and so good at what he does that he knows every move of every person he targets. Aside from the impossibility of this, the good hacker pitted against Phate, Wyatt Gillette, is also able to predict every move of his opponent.

Stories where the good and bad guys are nearly omniscient irk me. At once because you would think they could use their talents to make a f*ckton of money so they can forget about their troubles, and also because it’s so unrealistic. If the story weren’t at least interesting, from the point of view of someone who is interested in technology, then this would have been even more infuriating. As a police crime procedural novel about a serial killer, it’s not bad. The characters are human enough, though they are squarely either in the good guy camp or the bad guy camp.

The Blue Nowhere is a decent police crime serial killer hunting novel, that has an unrealisitically smart bad guy. It’s probably also a little bit too long, given just how quickly the guy ultimately gets caught. On the technology front, just keep in mind that this book is about fifteen years out of date.

Rating

Not bad, yet not exhilaratingly good crime drama

Read this if you…

If you like your police action mixed with a smidge of technological mumbo-jumbo, this may be your cup of tea

Don’t read this if you…

Detest floppy disks. Seriously, this is full of the things

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