Life is more difficult now than it was a few years ago. More and more people have to work multiple jobs just to stay above water. Utilities cost more than they used to and money is losing value. By the time one receives their salary, it’s already spent. With high trade deficits and national debts, people have much less purchasing power. What is happening now that was not happening before? How have we gotten to this point? What conversations do we need to have to change things? How can there be more employment opportunities? How can the citizens live to work as opposed to working to live?
Alex Gall has produced a well-written account of everything people should be saying but will not. The language used in the book is strong but not abrasive and drives the point home effectively and firmly. The authors passion and commitment to the subject matter is commendable and infectious. I consider myself to be an average citizen, I read the occasional hot headline. But this book made me look a little further, and a little deeper, and find something that was shocking and appealed to the citizen in me. This book is delivered from the point of view of a concerned citizen painting a picture, a person who is inviting others to a well thought out and open conversation.
I would appreciated more references of source material because, as stated previously, this book will leave you digging for more information and getting more involved in politics. Some statistics or studies to back up the subject matter would have been appreciated. This book is well researched and is laid out in an easy to follow manner in a compact and readily available format. At times I felt the content a bit dense, or maybe the topics overwhelming. I had to put the book down and think about what I just read. This book certainly causes one to reflect. But once you come out of your reflection, once you put the book down, you will come away with an overriding need to do something.
There are some sensitive topics covered but the author uses a neutral approach which is inviting. His approach to the subjects is completely ‘take it or leave it’. This is one of the best qualities of this book. The fact that the author lays out his position without dragging people with him. The intensity of the book and the truth in the subject matter will carry you effortlessly.
This book does a fantastic job of starting a serious and necessary conversation. This is necessary for anyone who wants to be an informed citizen.
Pages: 260 | ASIN: B079YP7LGM
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The year is 2050 and the overreaching A.I. is about to achieve total domination of the planet. If it succeeds, the end of humanity is certain. No resistance is expected since the human race has been herded into obedience and a false sense of security using high tech illusions and complacency. But the resistance is brewing – the Free Hackers are moving in the shadows, avoiding the scanners, blending with the crowd. They will cross the world, from Rotterdam to Sicily and all the way to California, in hopes of stopping the inevitable.
Interflow of Things by David Droge is a highly realistic vision of the future brought about by the constant revolutions in computing we have been witnessing in the past few decades. His A.I. starts its journey in our time but quickly spreads to control the world from the shadows. Its insatiable hunger for processing power has it manipulating governments and even change entire stratas of society. It uses high tech gadgetry to mask its debilitating effect on the planet. I enjoyed the superbly technical implementation of the technology which was always believable, especially when we remember how human totalitarian regimes have been able to accomplish the same effect without it.
Human emotions are the bedrock of its power – living in the A.I. controlled reality is comfortable. So much so that unplugging from it requires drug treatments and therapy. Julia, the first character we meet, needed extensive therapy provided by the Free Hackers before she got her emotions and clarity of mind back. And she was one of the lucky ones. Augmented reality dream is a prison of your own mind and you carry it everywhere. Why wouldn’t you? It makes everything, vision, smell, feel and touch, more beautiful! Droge is able to touch and develop every detail of the story so that you are completely immersed by the time you are just a few chapters in.
But the human emotion is something the A.I. doesn’t understand. Throughout the book we get inklings into the operation of this vast mind. Millions of calculations are being done in hopes of understanding basic human concepts and abilities, all in vain.
These passages serve the purpose of giving us the idea of the incomprehensible A.I.’s motivations. They turn out to be one of the few passages of the book that make sense. Dave Droge has translated this novel into English and the results could have been better. A layered and interesting world of the future was hard for me to comprehend. His human characters are intriguing but their motivation was obscured by poor translation.
Interflow of Things – the name of the novel is an obvious, ominous allusion to the current “Internet of Things” trend in computing integrated with ordinary business of living. It shows the future that we might be heading in. Droge gives us a warning that we might become willing slaves of computer controlled social constructs that we don’t really understand or care to understand. If the object of our desires is a real person or an android, will we know? Will we even care at that point? This is a fantastic science fiction story that can only get better.
Pages: 196 | ASIN: B07BTT6KRK
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The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale, by Charles Breakfield and Roxanne Burkey, is a fascinating tale of technological wonderment. The CATS (Cyber Assassin Technology Services) team has assembled from various global points with a singular goal and an overwhelming need to discover the source of North Korea’s missile supply. The team of equally capable and delightfully eclectic personalities masterfully manipulate a world of technological advancements as they handle their own personal crises–one after the other. The authors have created an amazing team of players ranging from married couple, Julie and Juan Rodriguez, to the villainous Marge. The globetrotting CATS team does not disappoint.
My favorite member of the CATS team is likely not the choice of most readers. I was completely enthralled with the story line involving Jamie. It is not often I reread chapters during the first read of a book, but I found myself lost in the tale of loss and despair described in Jamie’s chapter. His is a plot I would love to see further developed in subsequent Enigma books.
Julie and Juan Rodriguez are a couple like no other. The love they show for one another is enviable and not often found in books of this genre. The authors have given Juan some incredible monologues in which he, in no uncertain terms, declares his undying love for Julie. Julie, a dedicated CATS team member, is also a doting mother and exudes power in every way.
Marge, a vile and loathsome woman of pure evil, is the one character readers will revel in hating. The authors have expertly stretched out her character development to slowly reveal exactly how twisted and demented she really is. Without revealing too much about Marge’s wonderful plot twist, I will say I found shock, horror, and satisfaction tied up in one neat package before the end of the book.
Connie, like Jamie, holds a storyline in her hands like a beautiful package just awaiting the untying of its bow. Her dialect alone is a refreshing addition to the dialogue provided throughout the book. She is a loving, cunning, and especially memorable character addition who shows up late in the plot but deserves a regular place in the lives of the CATS team.
My only complaint regarding this book is the excessive use of acronyms. Many of them are humorous and all are quite effective in their descriptions and uses, but I found them to be a bit distracting as I read as many of them are in excess of five letters.
Breakfield and Burkey have created a book fraught with danger, tinged with grim backstories, and peppered with romance. They have indeed achieved a perfect mix of genres in the guise of a technological thrill ride.
I would recommend this book to any reader eager to break into the science fiction genre. The long list of highly relatable characters makes this particular piece the perfect choice for anyone who has been hesitant to step into science fiction with a techno taste.
Pages: 493 | ASIN: B0767QD12G
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The Enigma Broker is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a thriller, suspense, and cyber-crime as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
We actually set out to incorporate all those elements when we started sketching this book, yet we find our stories end up surprising us as they evolve. So, yes, the story did grow organically as we were writing. To be honest, we feel our stories are Techno-Thrillers, thus it makes sense to us that you find these elements within the stories. We struggle with many of the literary reviews as this category is not yet well-defined, yet your insight on this is appreciated.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is somewhat an unfair question. We like to spend time developing each character to the correct degree for the story, which helps to give us the tension we are looking for in that story. We are quite prejudice toward all of them. We have so much fun with all our characters. To put a fine point on it, for The Enigma Broker, our favorite would have to be Juan as we let him stretch in this tale to show his versatility as well as to find a stronger footing to go forward in the series.
When writing this novel together, how did you divide the work and decide on the finished product?
Our tendency has been to practice literary ping pong. For each story we start with the main premise and then rough out chapters typically ten at a time. Once we have the chapters assigned, each will work a chapter then serve it up to the other, in a back and forth exercise until the chapter is polished. We write to our strengths with the intention of making the stories sound like a single voice, and we submit that the back and forth helps achieve that for the reader. We review and criticize each portion and frequently add to each chapter as it progresses. The goal is to tell a relevant, contemporary story and have fun doing it. If it wasn’t fun we wouldn’t do it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
We are working on The Enigma Dragon, which focuses on how to conduct illegal activities without being observed digitally. It is difficult to keep your personal affairs private these days with social media and cell phones that can be easily monitored, because we have allowed technology so deep into our private space. It is hard not to use technology these days, and we incorporated that into Dragon. It has some tense segments where the characters are at risk and where others find out what they are really made of when things get tough. This one is focused on using the CATS team which was introduced in Book 7, The Enigma Gamers – A CATS Tale. This was a branch off the main series, but with a grittier core group. The Cyber Assassins Technology Services group is the new generation of detectives in the cyber space of the 21st century.
All around the world, commodity prices are plummeting, and nobody asks why.
The steep drop in the markets for oil, copper, coal, and other commodities threatens to destabilize nations and bring them to the verge of economic collapse. Amid fears that further drops in value could devastate civilization, the R-Group quietly engages.
The R-Group was formed during World War II. After delivering the Enigma machine to the British, they used their copy of the device to safeguard wealth and property from the Nazis. Today they use information-gathering and security capabilities to protect us from cyber-attack.
Jacob and Petra begin investigating the free fall in oil prices and soon discover disturbing clues that may implicate a “dark matter organization”—a shady organization that leaves no digital footprint behind. Meanwhile, ICABOD, the group’s supercomputer, teams up with government investigators to identify potential suspects. Quip and EZ also apply their special talents assiduously to the case but don’t let their work interfere with their blossoming relationship.
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The Ghost in the Mini Skirt begins in Vegas where after a meeting between two good friends, Jack meets a beautiful woman who captures his attention. But after their chance encounter, life takes an unexpected turn for Jack. Ghosts, tortured souls and a smothering darkness lead Jack on the path of a supernatural mystery. Two long lost lovers will connect with Jack and Terri in hopes that the truth will be revealed. Will Jack be able to solve this twisted tale or will the story be lost forever in Vegas?
The Ghost in the Mini Skirt, written by Kwen D Griffeth, starts as what appears to be another love story with a lonely guy in a bar on Valentine’s Day. However, it quickly escalates into a supernatural, fast paced, edge of your seat mystery as Jack hits a man with his car in the middle of the night.
The novel has modern tones with the likes of coding, computer hacking and Vegas being integrated into a murder plot, however, the premise of the novel is based on two love stories, one old and one new. But this is no typical romance. Be prepared for ghosts and unsolved mysteries that lead new lovers and old lovers together. There are action, secret agent style missions and even fortune tellers that will keep the reader on the edge of their toes, desperate to find out the answers.
Jack is proud, smart and at times stubborn. I was immediately drawn to his character and loved how pieces of his life are revealed as you move through the novel. He does not live an ordinary life by any means and his background and expertise lead him to a life with underground secret tunnels, guards and connections with the military. He has built a successful career and has a strong moral compass that means he protects those who are good and takes down those who are bad. The information surrounding his career was presented with such conviction that it leaves the reader feeling as though they had been able to peek into a world that they had never experienced before.
The contrast between him and Terri create two characters that swirl together and connect like sweet and savory. An unlikely combination that somehow works and creates a dynamic that made the novel easy to read and enjoy. At times Terri and Jack clash with their alternative views on life but through this conflict they learn to grow and respect each other and their differences. The introduction to Terri is like no other introduction I’ve read before. The smooth moves, the precise description of her walk and her irresistible beauty will have the reader conjuring up a woman so beautiful that she turns heads everywhere she goes.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a supernatural style, whodunit novel mixed with a dash of love and humor.
Pages: 398 | ASIN: B00IF7VCYS
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Who doesn’t love a good cyber-crime story peppered with intrigue and action? An excellent addition to that genre is none other than The Enigma Broker by Breakfield and Burkey. The current entry in a series that has chronicled an alternate future, this book is filled with thrills and chills. While the cast of characters is quite large, so much so that a single protagonist cannot be identified, the villains themselves aren’t quite so numerous, but their fearful plots are devious and cruel. It is not necessary to read previous installments in the chronicles, but it would undoubtedly be helpful at providing external context to the characters and their relationships. The intense nature of the crimes in this tale and the quick actions to circumvent them will leave readers breathless and waiting for more. There is truly very little to be disappointed with in this engaging tale.
The formatting and layout of the book is fantastic. The short-ish chapters make the story easy to read and take a break from if necessary. Some of the technical terms may go over the heads of readers and the authors have taken steps to address these concerns at the back of the book. You don’t have to be a computer genius to be able to understand what is happening, but it does not hurt to have some basic technical knowledge beyond pressing the power button on a computer. If you fall into the latter part, you may find yourself slightly lost while trying to follow those pieces of the story. The rest of the book more than makes up for that, however.
The relationships with the characters have some carry over from previous installments in this series. That can be difficult when you come into the series out of order, but it is dealt with easily by our authors. They give enough backstory and enough context that the present relationships are easily understood. As there seems to be a focus on romance and the development of these said relationships, this is crucial to get across to your readers who do not have the luxury of that backstory. The humor and action sequences are well thought out and planned accordingly. Nothing feels unnecessary or over the top. Everything has a place and the characters comply with their given roles.
A techno-thriller with a vast cast of characters can seem like more than the average reader is willing to take on. However, The Enigma Broker by Breakfield and Burkey is not one to be passed over. Any reader can tell that the research and partnership for this book was executed expertly. There is no clashing in the story where two authors disagree. Instead, this is a seamless book that flows as if it were written by one person. The romance and the action combine to give this book an added flair. Any reader would get a great read out of this.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: B01MQECQA9
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