My Rating: Not Exactly Good

To be fair, I had to move this one from “So Bad I Stopped” to “Not Exactly Good” because I finished it and that’s due to the decent plotting. I couldn’t hate this book; it has a certain something. But see the rest of this review.

What an odd book. The overall plot makes sense, in the way of these sort of grand conspiracy stories. The particular situations the author uses and his choice of characters are good choicesin the sense that he’s writing what he knows. But, the execution is just strange and awkward.

The start of the book contains the best parts in both execution and interesting ideas. We learn that the U.S. Navy has stumbled on a secret German NAZI military base in Antarctica shortly after World War Two, and the NAZI holdouts have flying saucers. The battle of Berlin and the subsequent battles and encounters with the Germans in Antarctica were intriguing enough to keep me reading. Now I know you’re probably thinking that this isn’t exactly a novel idea for a conspiracy plot. All I can say is I was recovering from surgery and maybe I wasn’t operating on full power or something, but the setup worked for me.

Unfortunately the rest of the book kind of falls flat by comparison. Set in the present, most of the story follows a young computer programmer who accidentally discovers a conspiracy to cover up the NAZI-UFO connection. The strange thing is, the way the details of the computer related scenes were told I couldn’t tell if the author was an experienced hacker or had never really used a computer: Lots of details are eerily accurate as compared to almost any movie or book I’ve read involving hacking and programming, and then again he has the hackers doing some of the standard (and impossible) computer tricks used by movie “hackers” to break in to systems.

Reading the author bio at the end of the book I learned that the author is Australian. This explains, I guess, why, though the story takes place in the United States with characters born and raised in the U.S.A. they all, uniformly, very frequently, say “bloody hell,” and other distinctly non-American expressions and expletives. Has he never watched American T.V. or read American books? He could easily have (1) edited the dialog, (2) Had the main characters travel from Australia to America, or (3) Set the story in Australia.

To be fair, if I wanted to write a techno-thriller while doing little research, I might have written a similar story. But then I wouldn’t set it in, for instance, Australia or or South Africa, places with which I am not familiar. But if I did, I’d at least run it by someone from one of those countries for a basic sanity check. Or you know, use Google.