Late at night, a hacker sneaks into the subterranean lab of a celebrity scientist known as the “Earthquake Whisperer.” There he makes a startling discovery which gets him murdered. The police soon learn surveillance video shows no one had left the facility since the homicide and a thorough search for the killer comes up empty.
To solve this locked room techno-thriller-mystery, an old-school detective and his retired K-9 reluctantly partner with a young high-tech rookie. This quickly escalates from a cut-and-dried homicide to something much more ominous.
This story is populated with relatable characters with interesting relationships. The dialogue is witty, there are whiplash inducing plot shifts and it has a surprise twist ending you won’t see coming.
This book starts out with quite the hook but then settled into the plodding of everyday investigative work. Of course, it’s a locked-room mystery, although that part is discoverable fairly soon and becomes a techno-thriller—which is okay by me—an opportunity to learn.
First, I had a problem with Pryor, mid-life macho coming off a suspension well deserved. He can be short, rude, and sometimes reminded me of the Bosch character in the TV series of the same name. Once linking that image, it was tough not to see Welliver in scenes involving Pryor.
I’m pretty torn on this one, about evenly distributed between liking and not. Interesting plot premise (note the cover), but since I wasn’t a particular fan of Pryor, it was tough to balance that with those characters I did like. Pryor is also ex-special ops military. Cummings is young, a grandson of Pryor’s academy instructor and, wait for it: formerly dated Pryor’s daughter. (How small IS this world?) Cummings is also sharp computer, technology generation. I had the promise of an active canine in the storyline as well, even if a retired police dog, and it wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped.
The murder of the hacker in the special underground computer lab links Pryor through the ownership of the lab, who is the second husband of his ex-wife. Just too many close links here to buy.
With any threat to the country, the FBI will get involved and because the consensus this might be (a threat), they did. More characters and they all tend to clash with Pryor. When the technology kicks in, I get a chance to read what currently exists and that projected. The plot steers into the future of bots and the manipulation we’ve confronted before. Then postulation goes beyond that.
I did enjoy some of the dialogue as it produces more than one chuckle and lightens the serious mood, although there again is tempered with soapbox discussions that veer into current political hotbed issues. Relationships tend to get entwined and there are plot puzzlers that eventually get channeled into a satisfying conclusion on a twisted plot course.
Interesting and well-paced, however, a protagonist not everyone will love with espoused philosophies sure to raise eyebrows.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars
Genre: Technothrillers, Hard-boiled Mystery
Publisher: Integration Press LLC
Print Length: 267 pages
Publication Date: May 24, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: Rod Pennington writes a mixed bag of suspense stories filled with quirky characters, rapid-fire dialogue and whiplash inducing plot shifts. With his off-beat sense of humor and original storylines that do not fit comfortably into any established genre, he has developed a hard-core group of fans.
In addition to fiction, Pennington has either sold or has had optioned seven screenplays and also writes regularly in national publications such as the Wall Street Journal.
You can reach Rod at AuthorRodPennington@Gmail.com
[truncated—see the list of Books by Rod Pennington in the author’s bio: The Fourth Awakening Series, The Family Series, Stand Alone Books]
©2022 V Williams