3 out of 4 stars
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Russia's Biggest Hack by James E. Doucette is a historical fiction/thriller novel that takes place at the end of 1999. It follows John Ward, a high-ranking employee of Global Communications, the dominant provider of telecommunications services in the United States. After an air accident that claims the life of Global’s president, John is left in an uncomfortable position with the new manager and the direction he proposes for the company, just like many other members of the executive board.
When John finds out that Global will ally with a Russian company of the same market, he begins to suspect that there is something more behind the recent and mysterious developments around Global’s brand-new business strategy. As a faithful employee and a patriot, John puts his life at stake to unmask a secret Russian conspiracy that seeks to cripple the American infrastructure and return the country to the Stone Age, paving the way for Russia to become the world's greatest superpower.
The prose from the book is quite fluid and, above all, very suitable for a fast-paced thriller. The author focuses on describing the actions that the characters carry out, leaving aside the environments that surround them and everything that happens in their minds. While this favors the development of a compelling plot, it also harms the characters. In most cases, they fall into the classic stereotypes of techno-thrillers or spy novels. The author would have benefited from including some extra pages to deal with this issue, especially in the case of John. He could have been a far more appealing protagonist if Doucette had fleshed out his past in Vietnam and the relationship with his distant father.
This novel also has its fair share of technical language, although this is something to be expected given its genre. Although the author has done a great job in relation to his research in the world of telecommunications, all the techno-babble may prove a bit excessive for those who are not used to this environment or do not find it interesting. Additionally, although the editing work is quite acceptable, there are some minor formatting errors. These revolve around double blank spaces after periods and a couple of missing double quotation marks in dialogues. In any case, these issues do not move the reader away from the narrative flow.
Despite its shortcomings, this book manages to deliver what it proposes. The author takes advantage of the current political climate of the United States to promote an intriguing conspiracy novel reminiscent of Tom Clancy’s classics. Even if the characters are in second place next to the plot, the story is utterly engaging, and it certainly kept me hooked until the very end, which I found quite satisfactory since it left no stones unturned. All things considered, I think the most appropriate thing for me is to give this book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to fans of techno-thrillers and spy novels that are mostly developed within the corporate world.
Russia's Biggest Hack
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