Review of Story Line:
This is my first book within the genre of cyberpunk. I wasn't really sure what that was about so I entered into it lightly. Well it's great. Cyberpunk novels deal with hackers: a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism. That has the potential of becoming a disaster. However Gary Ballard really manages to give us enough of the tech stuff and enough of every day happenings to keep us intrigued. The story really flows easily and is written in a way that would make anyone want to become a cyberpunk. You can't help but involve yourself with Bridge and feel happy, sad and pain along with him.
While this story deals with a world in 2028, it parallels what we live through nowadays. Corrupt players, do-gooders, the high and mighty. The difference? The way punishment and information is exchanged. How would like to the instead of passing business cards with your name and occupation on it, pass a business card that has your entire life coded in it?
How would you feel if someone can enter a chamber and hurt you physically while using holograms? It's no longer a world where people post things about you online, but where they can enter a 3-D world, find out anything and everything about you, and then hurt your physical image with it. It's insane.
Review of Characters:
I liked Bridge. I know he was the character that did good things but for bad reasons, but he sounded the most true to me. We all have that quality in us and so can quite easily relate to what he does and why he does it.
There were some issues where the bad guys had the expected sidekicks and they behaved the expected way. But really, how much do you want authors to rock the boat? If they rock everything there is no anchor.
Review of Writing:
A worry of mine when picking up this book, was how the tech information was going to be handled. Were we going to be thrown a bunch of tech words and phrases? While I am pretty knowledgeable with computers, most people when they hear about computer hacking get glossed over eyes. So this book had the potential to really cut down on its readership group.
But yet again, Gary has managed to really make the book complex enough to satisfy the techies and neutral enough to satisfy the non-techies. This is difficult, but I feel he managed to do it nicely.
Review of Editing:
I read the paperback version of this book and found about 3-4 misspellings (which is admirable) and one page was left justified instead of full justified. Does it mess up the reading or story at all? Not in the least. They are just minor issues that can be corrected in less than a minute.
Review of Cover:
The cover was nice. A little too much white space for me. But that is completely subjective.
If I were to be asked if you should read this book, I would say yes. It's a great story, great characters (whether you like or dislike them personally, you still get involved with them) and has a great reading rhythm. I look forward to the second book in the series.
About the book:
Artemis Bridge is the know-who, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. You need it, he can get it without questions or judgment. He prides himself on staying detached from the depravity, untouched by the filth, untouchable by the law. When a young hacker is assassinated before his eyes, he is burdened with a scandalous video of the mayor on the eve of the city's most important election of the century. With digital assassins and murderous thugs dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing the Chronosoft Corporation complete control of the city. Unable to sell the video, he is forced further into a complex conspiracy. This taut futuristic thriller is the debut novel by Gary A. Ballard, a rising new talent in the cyberpunk genre. The trade paperback edition includes the previously unpublished short story "Feeding Autonomy." "...well written and a joy to read, Ballard paints imaginative scenarios and environments" "Ballard does a complete and thorough job of world building."
About the author:
Gary A. Ballard was born, raised and still resides in the state of Mississippi. Graduating from Belhaven College with a degree in Fine Arts, he has painted, photographed, drawn, and written the world as he sees it. Working as a web designer since the early days of the World Wide Web, Gary is well-versed in social media, graphic design and Internet marketing.