The Data Chase by Louis Bruno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When most of us hook into a video game to play we're usually chomping at the bit to lose ourselves into some fantasy world, or battlefield, or zombie apocalypse and we never really put much thought into the world of the people who have actually created these games. Naturally, if we actually did stop and think, we'd probably imagine the stereotype of holed up think-tank nerds who have never seen the light of die as they sit in front of computers writing code.
Well, in Louis Bruno's latest novel, "The Data Chase", the world of video game creation is far more than that. In fact, it's a complex world that crosses the line into espionage and terrorism, double agents, human experimentation, and weapon's manufacturing.
At the center of the story is Dean Kane, a man who has rose from the bottom of the video game business to become top in his field. His road to the top has not been an easy one, suffering heartbreak, betrayal, and the loss of his son through his wife's devastatingly disastrous pregnancy. Still, he has survived, and made new friend's and allies to face the villain across the table: Vladimir Maynard.
Maynard is a ruthless, brilliant man who hasn't met a terrorist he doesn't like, or a super weapon he wouldn't want to use. His legion of evil gamers and minions is spreading over the world like a plague, infiltrating Dean's ranks and finally forcing Dean to leave behind his luxury apartment and lonely life to fight him in a chase that runs across the world, to be met with painful ghosts from the past.
As in Bruno's previous novels, his vivid imagination and great eye for a good action sequence takes center stage. The novel rarely slows down as the characters are kept breathless, sweating, running, and fighting to the next chapter in their fates. Double agents and double crosses, last minute plot twists, and sudden violence always threaten to hop on the reader without warning and it certainly kept me on my toes.
Three of the major characters are women, all of them in love with Dean at different stages of his life, and all of them feisty, intelligent and with enough fight in them to take care of themselves in a fight. The romance elements embedded in the story are written with all the lust and passion to match with the action/thriller part. Sex scenes are graphic, hearts are broken, and EVERYONE busts down into tears, especially Dean who really is suffering from a wealth of beautiful women chasing after him.
At times the romance parts did bog me down a bit, as I felt rather eager to go chasing after the villains and was impatient to get to the bottom of all the double crossing and action. To Bruno's credit, though, he did put serious attention to the emotional identities of all the women involved, and did not cast them as brainless sex kittens as might be done in a James Bond film, and the storyline involving the descent of Dean's ex-wife into schizophrenia is particularly sad.
All in all, I heartily recommend this book if you're looking for a great afternoon spent with an action/thriller, the sort you'd see on a summer movie screen.
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