"Runaway Heart", Stephen J. Cannell, 2003, 0-312-99718-3,
%A Stephen J. Cannell www.cannell.com
%C 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010
%I St. Martin's Press
%O U$6.99/C$9.99 212-674-5151 fax 800-288-2131
%O Audience i- Tech 1 Writing 3 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 342 p.
%T "Runaway Heart"
Decent writing, sympathetic characters, good stuff but not great
OK, cut to the chase. How does a thriller about genetically
engineered monsters and government conspiracies make it into the tech
series? Well, just under the wire, as it were, but it does start out
with a very nice piece of computer intrusion. We've got a reasonable
hacking/cracking process. We've got a nicely set up honeypot. We've
got a realistic second attempt (granted a bit of phone phreaking
thrown in). Nothing overdone: very practical.
Unfortunately, the book starts to diverge from authenticity after
that. We've got either a super-secret government agency dumb enough
to use weak encryption, or super-powerful "sun solar" computers. (Ten
computers? If we are into distributed cracking we'd probably try for
ten thousand ...) The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is
hardly secret, in any case: they funded the basic studies that
designed the technology underlying the Internet--and the actual work
was done by a bunch of chatty grad students. Scramjets are given
their proper pulse wave names--but are described as antigravity
(There is also a bit of inconsistency in the central character.
Cannell can't seem to decide whether he is a conspiracy theory
nutcase, or someone who does find legitimate legal concerns in the
realities behind the tinfoil hat ideas.)
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKRNWYHT.RVW 20050412
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