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4.4 out of 5 stars85
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on 4 May 2002
I raced through this book.
Deaver's latest thriller is a chilling journey into the world of cyberspace, and out into something we dare not take a glimpse of. The capacity horror that hides behind the everyday is tapped into by Deaver amazingly well. He could well have ended up writing another boring book on computers, but he manages to avoid that. And instead he comes up with a clever plot, some great characters, and some more great twists, all of which lead to an exciting read.
The possibility that such things as this actually happening is all too real, and Deaver exploits that modern fear very well.
His characterisation is so subtle that you don't even realise he's doing it until suddenly you realise you're reading a book that has really well rounded characters, and you can't quite place how he made them seem so. It's the sign of a master.
The twists he packs in this time are always surprising, and even when he's pulled the rug out from under you, he still has tricks up his sleeve. It's inspirational. I do conform to the view of some of his fans, that his constant turning of the plot on its head can sometimes be done too much. With this one though, it didn't spoil it at all, it just kept me turning those pages.
I would doubt that everyone could understand this book, what with it being so "computerish". If you have never touched a computer in your life, you probably shouldn't read it, because there are many terms in it which you won't understand. If you know a little about them, it's safe for you to read it. But, for example, let's take my grandmother. She knows absolutely nothing about computers. Deaver did explain very well some of the hacker terms, and more complicated stuff, but he failed to exaplin some of the things which are taken for granted. theses seemingly simple things are the ones which some people might not understand. (However, Deaver couldn't very well have exaplained every single word, if he had the book would have read more like a computer manual.)
This is probably my favourite of Deaver's books after A Maiden's Grave. It is most certainly worth a read.
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on 22 June 2001
I recently purchased this book in hard back - having several other Deaver novels.
It is a great read having all the usual twists and turns, and if the idea of all that computer jargon puts you off, don't let it as everything is explained!
I would definitely recommend this book - and don't be surprised if there is a movie version sometime soon!
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on 22 February 2002
Lara Gibson is a self employed business woman in Silicon Valley and is "the queen of urban protection" - she taught people how to look after themselves, how to be safe. Chapter one of the book brings about her death, by someone she thought she knew - a friend of a friend. As it turns out she was conned, a swift piece of 'social engineering' had turned this young stranger into someone she would trust and would walk to her death with.
'Phate' is a wizard, a hacker, a kracker. He has invented, along with the help of his anonymous friend 'Shawn', a piece of virtually untraceable software which allows him access to people's lives - and ultimately gives him the means of taking that life.
Gillette is a wizard also, a hacker. He is sitting in prison for hacking into the Department of Defence computers and allegedly running a piece of software that could encrypt their 'unbreakable' Standard 12 software.
The police know that the only way they can locate 'Phate' is to play him at his own game and go in through the computer, the only man who could match the talent of Phate is Gillette, and they have to get him out of prison to help them before more people are killed in the deadly game that Phate is playing.
The book is very detailed with computer information although for those that are new to computers and the world of hackers there is a glossary at the start to help you. It has all the usual police procedural information you would expect from Deaver, along with the usual plot twists.
All through the book you are shown how each character works with each other but also how each are working against the others and with their own motives. Part of the story is trying to find out the identity of Shawn who is constantly updating Phate as to the progress of the police investigation, allowing Phate to stay at least one step ahead in a lot of places - I didn't work it out at all who it was until it was spelt out for me, although with each page I turned I thought I had it sussed.
Reading the way in which Phate invades each character's life; it makes you wonder just how safe the world is with everything on computers - no code is unbreakable....... if it was designed by a man then it can be cracked by a man (or woman!!). As it says in the book - you used to be able to disappear because there were no computers to trace you - now you can disappear because there are computers to cover up and delete traces of you.
I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone, and those who have read others of Deaver's books will not be the slightest bit disappointed with this one, although there are none of the regular characters here (well, I have not read every last one of his books yet - but none of these characters have been in any of the books I have read!!).
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on 26 September 2001
As usual, Mr. Deaver's ability to create new characters who are as convincing and attractive as those he has already established, as well as the aforementioned outstanding meticulousness of the research he must do each time he varies characters, settings and plot is first class; I am a prolific reader and am all too often disappointed when I find a favourite author has attempted a new character and setting/background and not lived up to previous work, but Mr. Deaver has never disappointed me in this way. I read many authors of many genres, but Mr Deaver's books are among the few I religiously collect and reread again and again and again.
Jeffery Deaver has not only upheld his reputation as an excellent writer of thrillers but has done computing a service by making clear the difference between hacking and cracking - in a format that reaches many more people than the comparatively few who read the dry textbooks aimed specifically at the pc user/developer market world and even the small number of books on this subject which are slightly more accessible to the ordinary reader but which are still much less likely to be read by other than the enthusiast; he has shown this aspect of the computing world to the non-expert in a manner so fascinating that the facts it contains will be painlessly educate minds which do not have more than a passing interest in cyberculture.
Given the extremely unfair reputation genuine hackers have been given by incorrect use of that term by the ignorant, Mr. Deaver has shown that 'hackers' are the often amateur but expert users who break into systems ONLY for the challenge presented by the much trumpeted - and often faulty! security of specialised software written for great profit - a profit not earned as demonstrated by the hackers! - who are often the writers of the kind of virus that pops up and wishes one a happy birthday or has similar amusing and harmless effect - and who are frequently, quite literally, the 'guys in the white hats' who often work for security organisations both official and commercial to help stop or minimise the damage done by the "crackers", the real criminals, who might well be better named cyberpsychopaths after the sometimes lethal consequences of the damage they do.
Long and the short of it is that Mr. Deaver has scored again - this time by combining a great thriller with presenting an authentic view of a much-maligned group of people - and placing the blame often wrongly placed at their door firmly where it belongs.
Five stars, five cheers - and more please!
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Most of Deaver's best work has involved quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme (superbly brought to the screen by Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector) but there's more to this author than that acclaimed series. The thing about Deaver is that he always knows his subject material in great detail, and there's no doubt about his knowledge of the world of cyberspace, HTML and hacking as displayed here in The Blue Nowhere. As another reviewer here suggested, there's an underlying impression that computers today (in the worst hands) can do what a .45 could do in a Western of 100 years earlier.......KILL.
Written around 2000/2001, I have a feeling that some of the pseudonyms used (like Phate, Trapdoor etc) will probably sound a bit dated five years on and indicative of a by-gone age (the technology bubble of the 1990's) but it was appropriate for that time I guess - things move so fast in the blue nowhere - anyway this book was the right story at the right time and still holds up five years on. The great news is that, good as it is, there are riches galore to be found in the still-growing Deaver library. Anyone who owns one of his books will be planning on buying another I'm sure; as for those who haven't taken the plunge, well you're very lucky as there are great things in store for you. Jeffrey Deaver is one of the very best psychological thriller writers of the present day.....end of story.
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on 9 June 2001
I thought this was another great novel by Deaver. I loved the whole computer element, which was explained very well to the reader. The characters were fantastic and there were so many unexpected twists and turns! This book was a great read!
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on 16 June 2002
I must of read this book a thousand times by now. It's simply that good. Deaver is a classic author with a unique style to begin with. To have him delve into the realm of computers is fascinating. Deaver clearly research's ALL his titles very thoroughly and this is seen in his writing.
The characters in this book are developed nicely and the plot has a never ending amount of twists and turns.
In a few words this book is simply "Pure Genious". It's nice to see Deaver keeping up the trend of excellent writing in this title. If you're interested in computers or not this book will appeal to you, as do most Deaver novels.
For the more "geeky" of us out there, this book is technical without losing it's simplicity. He combines the science of computers with the art of writing excellently.
I'd wish for this to be turned into a movie but after seeing what they did to "The Bone Collector", I'm not so sure.
I hope there are more amazing titles still to come from Jeffery Deaver.
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on 14 May 2002
I am a fan of Deaver and have read most of his books. The Blue Nowhere however had me approaching with caution as it appeared on the surface to veer into Science Fiction.
I was relieved to find that my fears were unfounded. Whilst deeply routed in Science (as in the science of computers) it was very accessible to me, a relative technophobe.
As usual with Deaver the plot twists kept me guessing and the characters were well rounded and I quckly warmed to them. Funnily enough even the main villain.
The subjecst of computers and hacking were well explained and led me to fully believe that 99% of what was said could in fact happen. It may even be happening whilst you read this online.
I read this in a day and a half and it reminded me why I enjoy Deavers books so much. They do not patronise you, they do not bore you and most definitely they do not let you put them down.
I look forward to his next offerings with anticipation.
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on 20 July 2001
This is the first Jeffery Deaver book I have read, and I couldn't put it down. I finished it in 24 hours as they story was so compelling. I have quite a high interest in computers, but from the blurb I couldn't tell at what kind of detail this would go into, I was plesantly suprised. Even if you have no idea about computers, each buzzword is carefully correctly explained... I really recommend this book!
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on 17 September 2002
I have to admit, although some of the technicalities of the book seemed to go on a bit, I really enjoyed reading. There appears to be a nice mix of information and suspense, and I like the way Deaver makes you feel that you know everything, but then smacks you round the head with a big plot twist. None of the characters are indispensible and it kept me on my toes.
I do have a couple of critisms though. I felt that the book was at times 'too crowded' with characters. I kept having to reread to remind myself who these people were (except the main ones of course), as they are essential to the story. Another problem I had in reading this is that by the end, you noticed a pattern in the plot twists and it was not so difficult to predict what was going to happen. (What, Phate got away again?).
On the whole I would recommend this book. If you have a good attention span and an open mind, you'll love it.
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