2 out of 4 stars
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Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War is an addition to the McBride series by Dorothy May Mercer. Though it is part of the series, the book can be read as a stand-alone novel dealing with cutting age internet warfare cyber warfare as well as the possibility of hobby-sized drones being used as terrorist weapons.
Cynthia works for Senator McBride, masquerading as a receptionist when she is, in reality, an on-the-ball security expert. Her main role is keeping the senator safe from harm, a job she takes very seriously. She, along with five other women, form the Senator Mike’s Mother’s Secret Service, working together to make sure the senator came to no harm. Cynthia’s life isn’t taken up only with work. Her personal life has been taken up with Sergeant Dan MacIntyre of the Fairfax Police Department. They have what is obviously a comfortable relationship, though it would appear Dan would like a much closer connection.
Cynthia’s meeting with the mysterious Sky Eastman in the beginning pages of the book set the scene for both a romantic yet strange building relationship, as well as a classic love triangle between her, Sky and Dan. Cynthia spends the evening with the man she just met while Sky’s colleague retrieves Cynthia’s car from the traffic jam which occurred when a toy drone landed on the White House lawn. Cynthia’s concern with the drone disappeared quickly as she was swept away by the masculine and authoritative Sky.
Her initial attraction to Sky was forced to take a back seat to her work, as she and her brother, Glenn Patterson, worked to put a team in place which would take the fight to terrorists by engaging in cyber warfare. Glenn owned Fairfax Private Investigators where he had assembled technology to rival any three-letter agency. He and Cynthia rounded up two young men with superior information technology skills to run the cyberwar from the secluded room at Fairfax Private Investigators from where the two-man team began to work against the enemies of America.
After reading the book I rate it with 2 out of 4 stars. The thing I liked most about the book was the use of cyber warfare, which is of interest to me. The thing I liked least was the rather simplistic manner in which Mercer treated this difficult and complex subject. Though it is obvious that Dorothy Mercer put some research into the book, there are some rather glaring technical inconsistencies to be found. I am all right with a “willing suspension of disbelief”, but Mercer asks for acceptance of circumstances which have no explanation. Stating that a private investigation agency has better technological tools than anyone in the US Government with no explanation of how it amassed such unrealistic capabilities strains credibility. In addition, for anyone with a modicum of knowledge about national security and technologic warfare, the simple stating of impossibly complex actions with no explanation of how people gained those skills leaves the reader with a feeling of ‘if it’s so easy then what’s the point?’
Where there were no obvious typos, there are several instances of what I would term an excessive use of commas. This is more evident in the first few chapters. The book was probably edited by a professional, but the use of so many commas yields a text that reads in a stilted and uncomfortable manner. If you are looking for a book with some romance and some technical cyber warfare which is obviously used as a prop for the book, then you might enjoy this romp. However, if you are looking for a more meatier book with greater character development and more realistic means of accomplishing goals, this book will most likely not be your first pick.
Cynthia and Dan
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