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Posts Tagged ‘network’


Once in a while, my inner conspiracist gets the best of me and I feel the need to read about shadowy folks and such. So when I came across The Network and its synopsis (on the cover) I could not help myself. So enough with the blah-blah-blah and other such pleasantries and let’s get on with the bloody review.
Jack Logan is an investigative reporter living in New York. One late night, his life is interrupted by a US Senator named Malcolm Phillips. Phillips is a wee bit bat-shit crazy and panicky as he swears that his life is in danger and makes Jack promise to protect his wife Taylor and to find someone named Jeremy. Ah yes, Jack and Taylor was an item in the past. At first, Jack did not know what to grasp from that strange late night visit until Phillips is found dead in a Micronesian hotel room; an apparent victim of an allergy attack. Right. And everything goes full throttle from this point. As Taylor and Jack work together to find Jeremy, they find themselves being pursued by some very formidable and efficient assailants that are not exactly in the mood for tea and scones. Leading the pursuit is the enigmatic Damon Crosse, the head of shadowy firm known as the Institute, that has indoctrinated a generation of countless political and media power players that has basically turned the world upside down with shitty offerings such as reality TV. I’ve always suspected as much. Unknown to Taylor and Jack, Damon’s pursuit is aimed at capturing Taylor, for she is the key to finding some Biblical treasure that is capable of wielding untold power to the one that knows its true value.
About 400 pages long, Network is a thrilling ride to be sucked into (especially when you’re stuck at home during a bleedy pandemic) where Jack and Taylor is in a literal fight of good versus evil. Think Jason Bourne meets Davinci Code meets Tomb Raider (sort of) meets Constantine (yes, the Keanu Reeves movie). If you are a slow reader, you’ll find your pace slightly quickened as you race towards the end of each page to see what awaits you on the next page. There are some Judeo-Christian themes appears throughout the story that adds greatly to moments of redemption and mercy. Yes, sometimes no matter how far you’ve traveled down those dark paths in life, you can still make u-turns. Damon Crosse is a terrifying villain to the point that I’ll have to admit that the ending is going to be quite a doozy that’ll send some folks reeling. And yes, it might give you some sleepless nights as you try to figure out who’s really pulling the strings in this world. But until then, enjoy the read and sleep tight.

P.S. Hope to read MORE (wink, wink), Miss Shaw.

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One of the things I get to do on a monthly basis is to sit down with a big list of upcoming books both fiction and nonfiction and decide which ones will make it into my library branch. It is a tedious, but it lets me know what’s out there and though not everything I desire do make it, at least I know that other branches have it and I can stalk their stacks. A few months ago, I came across Vigilance in one of those lists and as I read the synopsis, at first gave me a chuckle and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone wrote about this. And then I decided … why not. But enough with the bollocks of librarian life and let’s get on with the blooming review. Yeah?

John McDean is on top of his game (literally) and the name of the game is Vigilance. Apparently, mass shootings have become as common as having cereal for breakfast in the morning, which someone decided to not only monetize this “phenomenon” but turn it into a game show. This John McDean’s Noble Prize moment. And yes, welcome to 2030 America, where your murder will be televised on ONT (Our Nation’s Truth) tv network. Yes, I kid you not, that’s name of the network … sound’s almost like OAN (but we’re not going to touch that mess … for now). To get on the show, anyone can register online and then they have to go through a “screening” process. Apparently, not just any backwater psychopath can muster the cut (to paraphrase Debra Foreman from Real Genius): folks have to have standards. Bloody hell, an actual Debra Foreman reference (Google her, folks). For those that make the cut, the rules are “simple”: if the active shooter dies, all of his contacts get one million dollars; the surviving shooter (yes, there are more than one) providing there are no civilians, other shooters or law enforcement official left alive in the “arena”, gets 20 million dollars; if a civilian or law enforcement official kills the shooter they get 5 million dollars. Now here’s the kicker, the “arena” could be anywhere at anytime on a given day. In other words people know the day, they just don’t know the when or where. Who knows, it could be the very bar that you are sitting in watching the next Vigilance broadcast (order something more than the hot wings for it might be your last meal). Or the mall. Or a metro station. Hence, this is why people are encouraged to be armed where ever they go, just in case. Hence, the name Vigilance.

Believe it or not, Vigilance is a bit of sci-fi dystopia as we deal with exquisitely vicious uses of big data, AI that produce computer-generated, ex-military, tactical commentators (yes, there are commentators during the bloody show) or can real-time CGI an armed Vietnamese girl into an apple pie Nordic American female spouting all kind of propaganda bollocks as she squeezes off rounds. Then there is virtual and holographic sex involved. Just going to leave it at that. The book is mostly centered around to perspectives: John McDean and Delyna, a waitress at the South Tavern Bar. A new game of Vigilance is about to begin and McDean is about to cream his pants as he and his staff analyzes possible game arena prospects. On the other side of town, Delyna is serving up hot wings and drinks to bunch of mostly armed patrons all gathered there to watch the next exciting game of Vigilance. Yes, hot wings, alcohol … and armed patrons … what can possibly go wrong? I’m afraid that you’ll have to read that for yourself. Trust me, it’s good.
Slightly under 200 pages, Bennett packs a ton of suspense, gore, dark humour and surprising twists (with a smattering of racism and misogyny) … all done at a decent pace. Vigilance doesn’t come across as preachy (as some might logically assume) but it entertains while subtly screaming a wake up call of sorts. It is simply a story projected into a stark future using a social plague as an exaggerated background. It is the Purge meets the Running Man meets Battle Royale. And whether you are pro-gun, no-gun or in-between you’ll start reading Vigilance with one reaction and end with another. And for the most … one can only hope that Vigilance remains condemned to the white pages of fiction (in light of all the bollocks we are enduring) and is not a harbinger of things to come. And for some, might actually give us something to think about. Bloody hell.

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