I recently came across a blog post by Dylan Hearn in which he regretted the fact that so few Indie authors make the effort to read (and review) other Indie authors. I took him up on the challenge and downloaded his book Second Chance on my Kindle. That was actually a bit frightening because what if I simply didn’t like it and what would I do if I disliked it and couldn’t read the book? You know how it is.
Fortunately, my fears were completely unfounded. Even though I am not a big genre reader (except perhaps for spy, political thrillers and noir books) as you know, this turned out to be one of those books that have a strong story with a plot that holds together well and, more to the point, is also well written.
The book is classified as science fiction / cyber punk but might just as well have been classed under political thriller, and is about a society that has come out of an ecological environmental disaster and is now governed in seeming democratic fashion; however someone is in charge of data streaming and information and all may not be as straightforward as it seems.
The book is subdivided into carefully crafted chapters on the different protagonists so that there is no need to go into too many and too detailed background description. Some of the data stuff was technically quite beyond me (a strategy meeting is conducted in the form of icon flashes onto data lenses with key visuals, joined by team members from wherever they are – way above Skype technology!) but this did not distract from the flow of the story which is about a girl who goes missing and about the various characters who, for different reasons, are trying to find out what has happened to her.
Stephanie is a newly elected delegate who struggles to hold onto power and data analysis suggests to her that being publicly involved with a successful investigation would cause her poll rating to jump. Randall is an ‘information cleanser’ who has a small team working for him on a project that is called the Re-Life2 campaign. There is a past connection between Stephanie and Randall and when he contacts Stephanie to find out more about the political connection he “still hurts seeing her after 20 years”. In addition, he finds out that the missing girl once was a researcher for Aristeas, the agency Randall now works for.
The book touches on a lot of issues ranging from cloning, environmental issues, to data manipulation and the story is carefully crafted. My only regret is that I found some of the characters underdeveloped in that there was little about what they looked like, what their main characteristics / idiosyncrasies were, except that in particular Stephanie, who should by all accounts come across as someone who cares, in reality comes across as fairly unsympathetic, whereas Randall seems a bit of a whiner, but that may very well have been the intention!
So yes, a good read and I’m glad I downloaded it.