Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review: The Scorpion by John A. Autero

Where Your Politics May Influence Your Reaction

The Scorpion is the story of a government cover-up and the efforts of three friends to reveal the truth about it to the public.

The book has good pacing and action.  Right from the first chapter, the reader is placed into a suspenseful and rapidly evolving situation.  Character development is good, as you get a solid feel for the traits and dispositions of each of the friends, both through the story and by way of anecdotes from their past.  The latter form of familiarization, however, continued well into the novel and after a while, it seemed somewhat distracting to the main plot.  Similarly, noting that the main figure drove with his hands at 10 and 2 to illustrate, I assume, his careful nature, became somewhat redundant by the end of the book.  But overall, the characters seemed realistic and quite believable.  And as is often a plus for me, the author dips his literary toe into some advanced technologies, including two that are primarily extensions of current research and a third that is more futuristic, substantially adding to my enjoyment of the yarn.

My primary concern about the book involved what seemed to be an internal disconnect in the plot.  Specifically, the cover-up described in the book involved a project that had consumed ‘trillions of tax dollars,’ implying a long-term, manpower intensive project.  It also involved technology that would be easily discoverable by the public at large.  And yet, it was secret, attesting to the measures the government must have taken to keep it hidden during development and deployment.  The friends, however, learned of the situation when computer equipment from that project was discarded and was being sold on eBay or dumped in public landfills…without being erased.  It was this disparity between portraying the government as both extremely efficacious most of the time and as incompetent as the Keystone Cops in this specific case that troubled.  I suppose it’s possible…but it would be unusual.

Finally, a word to the potentially interested reader.  Depending on your political leanings, you may characterize the primary protagonist as a patriot, bringing governmental corruption to light, or an anarchist, undermining solid public policy.  In the case of the cover-up in this specific story, the governmental corruption being revealed was clearly one of self-centered and morally bankrupt behavior.  But in the main protagonist’s musings about what to do, much more controversial topics are mentioned, e.g., the government’s right to require people to wear seat belts.  Depending on your leanings, you may or may not have difficulty getting behind the main character as a folk hero.

So, for readers who enjoy tales of governmental conspiracies, laced with high tech undertones, and the efforts of others to bring these excesses to light, you will find a good story in The Scorpion.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.