Wednesday, February 8, 2012

BRAINRUSH by Richard Bard

Jake Bronson has a terminal brain tumor and claustrophobia.  An earthquake and power outage during an MRI would leave anyone shaken, but it leaves Jake with some powerful new cognitive powers.  I was willing to buy it all, including the Lisbeth-like photographic memory, until the telekinesis kicked in, and I have to draw the line somewhere.  When a thriller crosses too far into the realm of science fiction, it loses me.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this book, because I did, to some degree, but I wasn't as embroiled in the plot as I would have liked to have been, even though there is a damsel in distress to give some purpose to a lot of gunfire.  When our claustrophobic hero finds himself in a labyrinth of narrow tunnels in Afghanistan, I became very confused as to who was where.  Also, I don't like endings that require a sequel, especially not in the first book of a series; I feel a little hoodwinked.  Cliffhangers usually work better for the second book, because, after reading two, the reader is basically hooked anyway, as in the aforementioned Stieg Larsson books, or even in the original Star Wars movie trilogy.  Plus, there's a big question about a possible informer in this book that I don't think was ever resolved, unless I missed it while skimming the specifications of an assault rifle or some other type of weaponry.  Speaking of advanced artillery, I have to confess that I don't know what technology is really available in modern warfare and what is a product of the author's imagination.  Apparently, the robotic NRI AutoCopter Gunship really does exist, as does the V-22 Osprey, a plane that, like a helicopter, doesn't require a runway.  Since these two machines were the most amazing to me, and they're not even that new, I have to assume that all of the military equipment mentioned in the novel is legit.  Now that's impressive.

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