Silicon Valley’s tech sector is about to be stood on its figurative ear as Pax AI Corp unveils its startling innovation in the Artificial Intelligence arena. Calling it a game-changer is a rank understatement. The discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel and the development of life-saving vaccines all rolled into one will be dwarfed by Pax’s technological creation of an intuitive artificial intelligence that can express your thoughts before you can verbalize them. The developer of this technology can dominate more than just the markets. They will have the power to dominate the world.
CIA officer Colt McShane is assigned to the San Francisco field office to infiltrate the Pax organization and ferret out the person who killed one of their top scientists and is stealing classified technology. To help in his quest, Colt is instructed to enlist the help of his old flame, Ava Klein, who is now an executive with Pax AI. The problem is, they didn’t part on good terms and she may not even speak to him. Worse yet, Colt is still in love with her. So how’s that gonna’ work, huh?
“Firewall” is the first book in Andrew Watts’ The Firewall Spies series. The description of it as a “techno thriller” intrigued me because; A) thrillers, especially espionage, are second on my list of favorite genre and B) I’m a closet techno nerd. Perfect, right? Not so much. It was mostly a snooze until well past the halfway mark when the pace picked up and things got interesting. The plot premise is a plausible look into the not-too-distant-future but the storyline gets bogged down in the minutae of site and personnel security. Yes, the information is critical to the overall plot but its presentation is excruciatingly drawn out. The protagonist, Colt McShane, is an interestingly likable yet unpredictable character. Author Watts uses flashbacks for character development which mostly works but also contributes to the drag. For me, the jury is still out as to whether or not I decide to try Book Two in the series. Four stars.
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