Title: Broken Genius
Author: Drew Murray
Published on: 02 June 2020
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers
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A blend of technology and thriller, Broken Genius is an impressive debut novel by Drew Murray.
In 2011, Will Parker, a CEO of a big tech company in the Silicon Valley, almost had his hands on the Fukushima Unicorn – a hardware that can make Quantum Computing a reality. A sideline work for FBI involving rescuing a kidnapped victim went horribly wrong. As soon as Drew saw the killer butchering the kidnapped victim, there was another bad news – the 2011 Tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Years later, Will Parker is now a member of the FBI Cyber Division team. A murder at the Comic Con attracts the attention of FBI. The murdered man – Roger Caplan – was active on the dark web and there was some chatter about Roger laying his hands on the Fukushima Unicorn.
Partnered with FBI agent Decker and the local LAPD Dana, Will Parker goes on a chase. He has to get his hands on the Unicorn before the enemy does.
A techno thriller involving quantum computing – this is exactly what my nerd brain needs. 😀 As a debut novel, I am really impressed with Drew Murray’s attention to details – be it finding the way through the dark web, hacking or everything related to the modern-day technological advances.
The story starts with a flashback – the events leading to Kate’s death (kidnapped victim) and Will receiving the news of the natural disaster(tsunami). Fast forward to the present, Will makes his way to Comic Con where he is briefed by FBI agent Decker.
As they join hands with the local police, they realize the Unicorn is at the Comic Con. A handful of bidders want the Unicorn. But this comes at a price. The victim – Roger Caplan – was the one selling the Unicorn. The bidders have no idea of Roger’s murder. Things go sideways when someone is kidnapped and they would be killed unless Unicorn is given to the prospective party.
The suspense is well-maintained through the story. The twists and turns were unexpected. We also have the angle of a Chinese hacker – Dragoniis – who wants to get the Unicorn before the enemy or the government does. (Talk about Freelancing!) The kidnapping happens halfway through the book and the FBI has two things to deal with. Save the victim and grab the Unicorn. Not as easy as it sounds. Uh-huh. Nope.
Although the characters are well-portrayed, I did have a little trouble connecting with them. Will seemed a little confused and his emotions were all over the place. Can’t blame him though, the poor thing saw someone butchered right in front of his eyes. Some more background on Dana and Decker would have made the story interesting.
The second half of the book is where all the action is. Do not let the slow pacing of the first half stop you from reading this book. The chase leads to a new twist. A twist I certainly did not see coming.
The only reason I gave this book 4 stars is, the storytelling could have been better. This book has a lot of potential and I wish the story had a little more of that ‘awe’ and ‘nail-biting adventure’ to keep the readers hooked. Nevertheless, the concept is good and the ending is impressive. As a debut, this is a pretty solid thriller. If you are looking for good techno thrillers, you might want to give Broken Genius by Drew Murray a try.
I received an ARC from Oceanview Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.