Factor Man

factor manAuthor: Matt Ginsberg

Publisher: Zowie Press

Release Date: March 20, 2018

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman

Factor Man is about to change the world. He hopes for the better, but with the way people are reacting, he is not overly sure.  To combat that, he has set up a “coming out” of sorts.  A brilliant mind who claims to have developed a new algorithm that can literally break the internet has surfaced with a plan.  Right now he is anonymous, but shortly he will reveal himself as he periodically reveals what his algorithm can do.  I cannot do the explanation justice, but basically, he can factor numbers to a higher degree than ever possible before, with the results being that encryption used for credit cards, internet security, and the internet itself will be more secure and better than ever.  Of course, that means people will be after him for his development, so he hides behind the name Factor Man.  He sets up a website and every so often takes requests for numbers to be factored.  He sets a date that the technology will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and creates a foolproof method of keeping it out of the wrong hands or from being shared.  Factor Man has all his bases covered, yet he is still wanted by the Chinese.  And the Chinese have several people whose lives depend on getting his product before it is auctioned.

As I mentioned, this new technology is difficult to explain and to understand; Ginsberg does a good job of explaining it, but most of it is still over my head.  Fortunately, this is just a small part of the story, and the rest of it is more than enough to keep readers interested.  It’s a whirlwind chase around the world as Chinese government employees try to figure out who Factor Man is while trying to hunt him down before he goes public.  It’s a race to the finish to see if the woman assigned to the job will find him or not.  Rest assured, there are lots of good tricks and ploys along the way.  This story is anything but boring.  I especially enjoyed excerpts from his website, in which he asks the public for numbers to factor.  Every time he requests a number a few more digits larger than the previous one.  Ginsberg adds the fun twist of using requests from people famous today to make Factor Man seem more human instead of some secretive technological mastermind.

Ginsberg takes a novel approach to the typical thriller.  Yes, there is some special formula or code or technology that someone doesn’t want to get out to the public, but his concept is new and exciting.  He applies a modern twist and uses fun, snappy language to tell the story at a good pace.  Readers, after the initial explanation of the algorithm, are not too bogged down by details about the product that they can’t enjoy the story itself.  The “bad guy,” despite being on the wrong side of things, is smart, creative, and tough; one can’t help but be fascinated by her, which of course helps develop the story.  The people set up to help Factor Man make his big debut are also savvy, fun, and interesting.  They follow the rules but just on the right side of them, so we get a quick tempo with all kinds of interesting developments.  It is clear from reading the book that Ginsberg is either incredibly smart or really good at research, probably a bit of both (but more smart than anything else).  I enjoyed this book immensely and am sure that readers of technological thrillers will, too.

I admit that I was not sure about this book before I started it, because I am not usually one to enjoy a technological thriller, but it really was a good one.  I enjoyed the characters, the slick smartness of it all, the quick dialogue, and the clear thought put into it.  I hope Factor Man develops some other technology so I can find out how he goes about getting that one put into society.

This book contained profanity and violence; therefore, I recommend it for mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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