Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Shadow Warriors

The Shadow Warriors
by Judith Copek
(Imprint Books / 1-591-09960-9 / 978-1-591-09960-4 / November 2003 / 476 pages / $19.99)

Reviewed by Dr. Al Past for PODBRAM

If you are reading this, then you are a computer user, and if you are using a computer, you are probably aware that doing so can expose you and your machine to many dangers: viruses, Trojan horses, worms, bugs, bots, spyware, malware... the list seems endless. Countering them (and creating them) is the province of highly specialized, intelligent, and often, quirky people.

The Shadow Warriors is a book set in this world, spanning several genres: mystery, thriller, techno, and techno-thriller. There's also a generous dose of romance. The narrator and main character is an attractive woman with a history, many male admirers, a lover of good food, fancy restaurants and hotels, and a classy dresser. She's also intelligent, computer-savvy, and inquisitive, traits which put her in the middle of a complex and dangerous situation.

Apparently not inspired by, but certainly reminiscent of, the famous, feared, fizzled Millennium Bug of 2000, the story centers around the efforts of a group of computer hackers (not necessarily a term of opprobrium, it turns out), including the protagonist, Emma Davis. Their task is to retrieve some software that has gotten away from its creators and been turned into—possibly—a fearsome, world-stopping doomsday suite of computer programs. While this goes on, Emma must sort out her personal life with three men, one being her husband. The threat of digital disaster is a timely and entertaining notion, and there is no need to detail the course of the action here. It's enough to say there are murders, chases, narrow escapes, creepy suspects, intimate trysts (PG-13), and building tension enough for anyone looking for an absorbing experience.

While there is some amount of techno-speak it is minimal and will not disturb the reader who does not care to wallow in it. It should also be said that the heroine closely observes the clothing of other characters and describes meals and hotels in considerable detail. It may be that female readers will particularly enjoy this aspect, but in fact this male reader did too—the author's descriptive powers are considerable. Many of the settings are described wonderfully well—those who have traveled widely, or would like to, will especially enjoy this aspect of the book. The author also has a fine ear for dialog.

On the other hand, the cover was not nearly as appealing as it could have been. The text was cleanly written and edited, and the small number of typos and grammar glitches that slipped through did not significantly detract from the experience. The story line was quite complex, what with the heroine's personal life intertwined with a large group of other significant characters, some with similar names. I'm glad I didn't try to read the story at the beach or in an airport lounge: it required concentration to follow. A list of characters at the back of the book would have helped. (There are some promising recipes there, but alas I didn't try them.) It was a long tale, moreover, and while it grew increasingly absorbing as it proceeded, looking back I wonder if whittling it down a bit, concentrating it, might have made it even more compelling.

The Shadow Warriors was a timely and fun book. The general reader would enjoy it, and I for one look forward to more by this talented, promising author.

See Also: Dr. Past's B&N Review
Judy Copek's Website

1 comment:

Floyd M. Orr said...

 Thanks for the cool review.  There is a new book out by Judith Copek, World of Mirrors, pubbed in June, 2013 by Wings ePress.  Available from Amazon or the Wings web site.