3 out of 4 stars
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Mike Ventura is a detective with the Phoenix Police Department. His personality and unconventional approach to police work get him results but earn many enemies, both among criminals and other law enforcement officers. Carlos Pelligro is a young genius who dropped out of MIT to take care of his handicapped sister. In order to make ends meet, he has reluctantly become involved in a Phoenix gang. When a weaponized army of drones begins descending on Phoenix and using lethal force to stop criminals in the middle of their crimes, Mike and Carlos become an unlikely duo in an effort to find out who is behind the attacks and why.
The Drone Directive by Anthony Joseph is a fast-paced crime novel featuring futuristic drone technology. It examines the age-old question of where society should draw the line between personal freedom and public safety. There are a lot of characters in this book, and the narration switches between many different perspectives. It can sometimes be difficult to remember who all the characters are, but their stories are woven together with intricate detail. The book consists of 92 short chapters that switch between the various points of view, which keeps the plot moving. This style really lends itself to the fact that many different things are going on at the same time, and it helped keep me tuned into the book to find out what would happen next.
While some novels feature action at the expense of character development, I really liked that this book didn’t make that sacrifice. The book presents an interesting collection of people who are all complex. It was often difficult to tell who the “good guys” and “bad guys” were until the end of the book, as each character was motivated by his or her own belief system and emotional baggage. They are all realistic in that they had their personal strengths and weaknesses and were flawed to some extent. I think the reader’s depth of understanding of each of them was enhanced by the fact the reader gets to experience the story from so many points of view.
This was a truly exciting and enjoyable book to read, but I did notice a few issues. First, the book needs to be professionally edited, as I found well in excess of ten errors throughout the text. Secondly, while most of the book is told in third-person narration, there are a couple of chapters in the middle of the book that are told from the first-person perspective of a fairly minor character. I found this odd, especially because it was not consistent throughout the book, as this character’s later chapters switched back to the third-person perspective. Finally, while I felt that the characters were complex and realistic, I didn’t really like any of them. While I rooted for a positive outcome, the characters all had so many personal flaws that I didn’t become emotionally invested in anyone.
Given the above-mentioned strengths and weaknesses, I rate The Drone Directive 3 out of 4 stars. Overall, I found it difficult to put down, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys action-packed detective stories. I could definitely picture this book as a movie someday. Those who prefer reading about lovable characters may not enjoy this book. There was considerable profanity, so I would recommend that anyone who is sensitive to the frequent use of the “f-word” avoid the book.
The Drone Directive
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