Thursday, April 4, 2013

read: Zero Day: A Novel (2 stars)

Zero Day: A NovelZero Day: A Novel by Mark Russinovich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book. The author is a software engineer; I'm a software engineer. He wrote a thriller; I want to write a thriller. He got published; I want to get published. I'm going to work hard to make my first published fiction better than this, however.

This is not unreadable, but it's overwritten and not compelling. I found myself skimming through it at a dizzying pace because not much was happening and most of the words on the page were giving superfluous backstory and description. This is supposed to be a thriller, pared down and full of impending doom and action. The author tried to create a sense of the former by describing the consequences of some computer crashes and tacked on the latter toward the end when our deskbound heroes suddenly started surviving gunfights. And then there is the gratuitous PG-13 sex thrown in to spice things up. What is needed are some stakes that really drive the story and the characters, not just a series of scenes that would barely support a Lifetime movie of the week.

There might be an interesting story in here somewhere. And some interesting characters. An agent or editor needed to tell Mr. Russinovich to go back and write another couple of drafts and find them.

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