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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on April 16, 2004
Jeffery Deaver actually has a pretty good plot and story buried deep down in this novel somewhere, but he spends so much time explaining the most basic of computer terms throughout the novel - and stopping mid-story to do it - that the reader loses focus. The book originally came out back in 2001, and even then most individuals did not need THAT much explanation about computers to get what was going on (was there really anyone out there in 2001 that had never heard of "the internet"?). If you know absolutely **nothing** about computers, you might enjoy this novel more but even the most basic computer knowledge turns this book into a bore at times. Readers shouldn't have to keep moaning to themselves "yes, I KNOW that, move on!"
Even with that criticism, when the story did move it was captivating. A hacker sent to prison for cracking the wrong computer system is recruited to help the police catch another hacker that is using his skills to work his way into people's lives and kill them. Great story. If Deaver had focused more on that, he'd have had a real winner here.
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When I came online to write a review about this book, I decided to read more from the other reviewers first. Maybe that isn't such a hot idea, because it will influence your own reviews...but for some reason this book just didn't catch my attention like Deaver's other books on Lincoln Rhymes. No...it's not just because Lincoln is disabled, no matter what people think about my slightly biased views because I am deaf.
Even though the book was enjoyable, there was a slightly false 'air' to it. After reading the reviews of the many computer geeks (no offense intended since I admire them) and those in the know in the computer world, I think I understand why the mystery came off this way. No amount of research can make up for the basic characterization, and a decent plotline. In this book, the plot was okay, but the characters came across as cardboard dummies. Very little emotional involvement attached to them. Another major problem, is having some computer background myself, like the other reviewers said the information concerning computers seemed contrived. I didn't realize it went so far as to include 'made up words' not used within computer geekdom. To me that is bad precedent for the basis of a novel. Deaver should have at least checked with those involved in that world first before writing this stuff into his mystery.
Having said that...Deaver is one of the better mystery writers today for the most part. The plot was good and the book could have been written better. Did anyone else get the idea that this was written along the lines of a script for a movie or TV show? I know the one movie they did using one of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels was not a hit, but please...those of us who enjoy reading mysteries do not want to read scripts! This is a very light, enjoyable read, especially if it's a first time exposure to Deaver or a summer beach book.
Karen Sadler
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on December 24, 2002
I found this I book a bit of a bore. I have read 4 of Deaver's other books, the three Lincoln Rhme novels, The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair and The Coffin Dancer as well as the The Devils Teardrop where Lincoln makes a guest appearance. I really like his Rhyme novels, I find them a rare twist on the forensic investigator genre, and I think Lincoln is a really unique and interesting character, but maybe if I was a forensic scientist myself I would react to those novel's as I did to The Blue Nowhere. This novel is about comupters, hacking, the Internet and is set in Silicon Valley and the greater Bay area. All of which I know more about than the average reader. a) I live in the Bay area. b) I work for a software company that builds software used to build applications many of which are internet based. c) While not a hacker by any stretch of the imagination I am a programmer by profession.
Deaver took great literary license in his terminology, description, and attitude towards computers. To the laymen I suppose this would all be accepted, however it grated against me as exaggerated untruth. I couldn't get past the ever present phony context to even appreciate the story of the mystery. I plowed through it with not much anticipation or excitement. The big revelation at the end was very disappointing, so I quickly finished and got on to the next novel.
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on May 24, 2002
Wyatt Gillette is a computer hacker serving a three-year sentence for his transgressions. He is recruited by the Computer Crimes Unit to try to find a serial killer hacker who goes by the name of Phate.
Phate is a computer wizard who knows everything there is to know about cyberspace and then more. He uses his skills to track overconfident computer users and leading them to a trap. Once he has them snared Phate slices and dices his victims with his trusty knife. What makes him even more powerful is his cohort-in-crime, Shawn. Shawn can be almost anywhere tracking every source of information and sending it to Phate. This accomplice's identity is kept secret throughout the book until the shocking showdown between Wyatt and Shawn.
The book is full of twists and turns and makes for an entertaining read but that is about it. The material in the novel is very dated making it difficult to reprint in the near future with the way technology evolves. The book makes an OK beach read but there are better Jeffery Deaver novels. Try THE DEVIL'S TEARDROP, A MAIDEN'S GRAVE, or HELL'S KITCHEN.
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on March 8, 2002
This pretty much sums up Wyatt Gilette's character and unfortunately his personality and never-relieved blue devils are contagious. It's hard for most readers to identify with, and care about, someone who interacts with his fellow humans on an almost exclusive cybernetic basis.
THE BLUE NOWHERE moves with the ease and speed of a Cray supercomputer. It seems to be well-researched but it falls far short of its potential. The SILENCE OF THE LAMBS/STORM motif of springing a criminal to catch another doesn't work to good effect and one almost wishes that Gillette would get carted off to prison to make room for someone we DO give a damn about. The obligatory bad guy on the inside dutifully makes his appearance after the obligatory last minute red herring is proven innocent but you come to expect this with Deaver and almost yawn at the prospect of trying to anticipate Deaver.
Phate never strikes me as being much more menacing than the prototypical snotty fat guy who works at your local Comp USA and the only difference between Phate and Wyatt is that the latter has a slightly better grasp of reality and more regard for the human lives with which he nonetheless rarely interacts.
About the most ingenious and interesting thing about THE BLUE NOWHERE is that the chapter numbers are in binary. If you want to read a great novel about a computer hacker, read or reread William Gibson's classic NEUROMANCER (a book with the best opening line I have ever read). If you want to read a good Deaver book, then wait until the next Lincoln Rhyme thriller THE STONE MONKEY, a series in which Deaver is at his best, obviously because he cares about THOSE characters.
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on March 8, 2002
This pretty much sums up Wyatt Gilette's character and unfortunately his personality and never-relieved blue devils are contagious. It's hard for most readers to identify with, and care about, someone who interacts with his fellow humans on an almost exclusive cybernetic basis.
THE BLUE NOWHERE moves with the ease and speed of a Cray supercomputer. It seems to be well-researched but it falls far short of its potential. The SILENCE OF THE LAMBS/STORM motif of springing a criminal to catch another doesn't work to good effect and one almost wishes that Gillette would get carted off to prison to make room for someone we DO give a damn about. The obligatory bad guy on the inside dutifully makes his appearance after the obligatory last minute red herring is proven innocent but you come to expect this with Deaver and almost yawn at the prospect of trying to anticipate him.
Phate never strikes me as being much more menacing than the prototypical snotty fat guy who works at your local Comp USA and the only difference between Phate and Wyatt is that the latter has a slightly better grasp of reality and more regard for the human lives with which he nonetheless rarely interacts.
About the most ingenious and interesting thing about THE BLUE NOWHERE is that the chapter numbers are in binary. If you want to read a great novel about a computer hacker, read or reread William Gibson's classic NEUROMANCER (a book with the best opening line I have ever read). If you want to read a good Deaver book, then wait until the next Lincoln Rhyme thriller THE STONE MONKEY, a series in which Deaver is at his best, obviously because he cares about THOSE characters.
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on December 19, 2001
The Blue Nowhere was a fun novel to read with a unique focus to its mystery setting - that of the digital realm. From the back cover and commentaries I have previously read, Jeffrey Deaver is known for his works of "psychological suspense". I have not read any other fiction by this author, so I cannot, consequently, juxtapose my comments on this book to his other works.
The core plotline was standard mystery material. Using cyberspace as the setting for the action added a contemporary flavour and ostensibly, a more unpredictable outcome. Unfortunately, the author seemed to struggle with slapping on the post-modern theatre offered by cyberspace to a layer of traditional murder/suspense formulaic predictability.
While Deaver provides a glossary of some common "hacker" terminology for his uncyberschooled audience, he seems to use the development of his murder mystery to toss around these (what appear to be) newfound cybervocabulary words at every opportunity, ad nauseum. I almost felt he wrote the skeleton murder/mystery plotline and filled in the appropriate hi tech references to computers and the internet afterwards - oftentimes, sacrificing a graceful flow of the story and character development to this forced computer vernacular.
I was intrigued by his appellation of "social engineering" to his criminal antagonist - and I had hoped he would have developed this aspect of his storyline better. I often was confused if the author really understood the concept - social engineering, that he introduced and maintained direct reference to throughout this novel.
It is a fascinating idea that through the computer, people are able to redefine their identities, steal others identities and deleteriously enter uninvited into peoples real lives. However, given this author's tradition in the murder/mystery area, he seems to only use social engineering as a tool to enhance typical "master of disguise" tricks used by the antagonist. I think he could have really brought a human face to the computer screen that he himself doesn't seem to fully understand in this cyberage we all live today. It is not so much about body padding and wigs and hair colour that "social engineering" is pernicious, but more in the ability of a complete stranger to enter into our lives from the computer screen and know our identities nonvoluntarily. While seemingly inanimate, the very power of computers today is that they permit a new social space to exist in both cyberspace and even have an impact on everyday face to face interaction.
It is nice that the author may have done a web search of significant Silicon Valley corporations - to the ultimate extent of including their collective initials into one of the central characters to the outcome of the mystery story. At times, I was compelled to grimace at what I felt were the product endorsement inserts straight from the Survivor television series - right down to the "Mountaindew" references.
Perhaps rather than demonstrate savvy in mastering a few basics of the "blue nowhere", that is cyberspace, the author could have taken some interesting, contemporary elements from this realm and adapted the mystery to this relatively newfound setting. Otherwise, it appears to this reader that what we have is a standard, yet malleable murder/mystery which has been morphed - through the use of "hip" cyberspace lingo into a seemingly cutting edge novel which depends on this cyberspace environment for the maintenance of its suspense. A better and more relaxed fit would have worked. It was via this use of "social engineering" that I think he could have accomplished this mesh.
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on November 7, 2001
A serial killer is on the loose with an ability to assume any human identity, break into any computer system and destroy any individual at will. Deaver paints a terrifying science-fiction-like prospect with as much killing action in cyberspace as in flesh and blood.
The action is unpredictable - as is the denouement. The killer plays a delusional game as he chillingly stalks victims through machines and networks. And it seems Phate can never lose - until he comes up against another brilliant code slinger, a former game partner. Gillette tracks the killer through murky chat rooms and anonymizers even as he tries to salvage what is left of his real-world personal life.
Deaver sacrifices character development - except for the protagonists Phate and Gillette - to a fast-paced action plot. Most of the characters appear two-dimensional and are as mutable as their screen names. But the setting is not very unrealistic - incredible coding and bare-hand hardware making are but some of the exciting elements of this new-genre cyber-thriller.
A good trip into the uncertainty and lurking dangers of cyberspace.
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on June 11, 2001
At completion, I was unimpressed with THE BLUE NOWHERE so I commenced by own 'completely scientific statistically significant survey' of four technologically challenged baby boomer readers of the novel. With 100% respondency, to a woman (all four participants were female) they found the book to be fantastic. Each respondent particularized commentary on the aspects of the story relating to the dissolution of personal privacy and security reflected by the minimally safe pathways of the internet. And, that appears to be the line of demarcation between rave and repudiate for this Deaver effort. Personally, I found it to be a reasonally intriguing mystery but a dreadfully trite thriller.
TBN is little more than a variation on a pretty common theme, 'it takes a thief to catch a thief,' only in this instance the opponents are PC wizards, ironically having a shared history. As should be expected with any Deaver novel, there are more plot twists than a car dealership lease agreement but the story fails to reach the threshhold of thrilling. Additionally, for the individual who has a reasonable degree of systems-related competency, Mr. Deaver overlooked or just plain disregarded some inconsistencies and blatant inaccuracies that detract from the story serving to diminish one's willingness to accept plausibility.
Obviously, it's only one opinion but each book since THE COFFIN DANCER has seemed to be just a bit lower in quality. THE BLUE NOWHERE is a decent story, it just isn't as scintillating as Mr. Deaver's better books.
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It is beginning to seem that Jeffery Deaver hit his peak with The Bone Collector, if The Blue Nowhere is any indication of where he's headed.
I really wanted to like this book; I've been a long-time fan. But The Blue Nowhere just doesn't have the intensity, the passion, the heart of Deaver's earlier books. It's possible that in the course of doing so much research to validate his thesis that none of us are safe from the stealthy probing fingers of hackers, crackers, whatever, the characterizations suffer terribly. A couple of the people come to life, but not nearly enough to keep one thoroughly engrossed. This is an entirely plot-driven book, eminently readable but only barely plausible. The pacing is certain and keeps one turning pages, but more from curiosity to see how he's going to pull it off rather than from any depth of caring for the characters.
Finally, the title is repeated so many times in the course of the book that it becomes like a long infomercial, where you want to say, "Okay. I got it. I got it." Bottom line: all the research in the world cannot be a substitute for characters grounded in some kind of recognizable humanity. So the book whizzes along at the speed of downloaded data on the best cable connection anywhere. But at the end, it's hard to care about people who just aren't fully fleshed and rendered believably human.
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