bookreview Thrillers based in worlds of hacking and politics [Deseret News (UT)]
(Deseret News (UT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) These two novels include kidnappings, political intrigue and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Longer reviews are online at deseretnews.com
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"THE QUANTUM BREACH: A Mormon Hacker Novel," by Denver Acey, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 256 pages (f)
A common sight in film and television is the computer hacker, a frazzled 20-something with head bent over keyboard, hammering furiously at keys before flying back from the terminal in his rolling chair to proclaim "I'm in." It's exciting. It's dramatic. It's also utterly unrealistic.
Denver Acey in his recent novel "The Quantum Breach: A Mormon Hacker Novel" opens the firewall on what a real computer infiltration looks like, as his characters set up an elaborate two- month hack into Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Coming from a technical background, Acey lays out the anatomy of a security breach for half the novel. Instead of technical manual, however, "The Quantum Breach" laces a moving story into its deliciously accurate information dump and translates the technical details into raw narrative intensity.
After laying the groundwork for his technical premise, Salt Lake resident Acey then abandons the professor's lectern and turns full- fledged storyteller as he spins the tale of Tanner Zane, who has recently joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and swears off his former nefarious hacker life. But kidnappers force him to go back to hacking and he works to outsmart them.
The final half of "The Quantum Breach" is a riveting whirlwind of technological prowess and intellectual one-upmanship, and the minutiae take a backseat to an action-packed page-turner difficult to put down. "The Quantum Breach" is unpolished in places, especially toward the opening, but once Acey hits his stride, the novel flows like a top-tier thriller.
Not only does "The Quantum Breach" make for a good yarn, but it also educates on modern hacking techniques and the potentially life- threatening dangers of leaving personal information out to dry on the Internet.
- Rick Feldschau
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"PERSONA NON GRATA," by Stephen J. Stirling, Bonneville Books, $15.99, 212 pages (f)
LDS author Stephen J. Stirling's "Persona Non Grata" is a thrilling adventure highlighting the role of the Holy Ghost in personal - and international - affairs. Stirling places his story amidst the backdrop of conflicts in Crimea - a fictional constitutional monarchy in Eastern Europe.
Paladin Smith, a seminary teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a high school history teacher, receives an unexpected visit from an enemy whose niece, one of Smith's former seminary students, is in trouble in Crimea, caught up in the dazzle of diplomacy as an ambassador's assistant.
Smith takes on the quest, guided by his father's priesthood blessing and encouraged by his wife. Landing in Crimea, Smith finds that he must use his wits and the promptings of the Holy Ghost to complete his mission, a mission bigger than just rescuing a former student from peril - though it is that, and the peril mounts as the pages turn.
Stirling includes references to the Book of Mormon, missionaries, priesthood blessings, and other elements of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since the main character is a faithful member of the church.
"Persona Non Grata" shows not only how God will use seemingly ordinary people to do important things, but also that he is interested in the events that transpire in this world - those that shape governments and the futures of individuals.
- Karen Schwarze
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