Catch 42

Author: Felix Holzapfel

Publisher: Quovabiz Inc.

Release Date: May 13, 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What happens when dystopia, quantum computing, and VR collide?  You get Catch 42!

Dan is a typical guy who is down on his luck. His family restaurant began to suffer financial difficulties, but he couldn’t accept failure.  So now he works jobs nonstop to provide for his family.  Unfortunately, after so much stress, he wife, Vicky, took their two kids and left California to return to her home state of Kentucky to live on her parents’ farm.  Dan is too full of pride to throw in the towel, so he continues to work to try to make a living so that they will come back.  One night, a mysterious voice from the future calls out for his help with a problem.  In several years, the world will experience catastrophe after catastrophe including pandemics, global warming, food supply chain disruption, and a cyber war that will decimate the population down to 20% of what it is today.  As a result, leaders put aside their differences and have created a virtual world known as WeYou to bring humanity together.  But things aren’t what they seem, and underground movement known as Teccupy is working to overthrow the virtual lies that they believe WeYou has constructed.  Both organizations want Dan to help solve a puzzle that neither can master.

This new genre of dystopian tech thrillers that dabble in speculative fiction has really become quite popular and I can’t get enough of them.  Catch 42 was no exception as it kicked off with a bang and never let up.  Most of this book centers around Dan’s immersion into the world WeYou and learning about how the world has changed while searching for the key to bring immortality to the physical world.  Some of the jargon goes pretty technical, but it’s not too difficult to keep up with.  The occasional chapters thrown in with Vicky and the kids didn’t bring much but kept them in the loop for the ending.  There is also a lot unsaid at the end, but that is where the speculative part comes into play.  Overall, I enjoyed this and there isn’t much language or mature themes throughout, just a good read!

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

Cutting Edge

Cutting EdgeAuthor: Ward Larsen

Publisher: Forge Books

Release Date: January 23, 2018

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A new type of super soldier that is hard to wrap your mind around!

Trey DeBolt is a young rescue swimmer with the coast guard stationed in Kodiak, Alaska. While out on a rescue, severe weather causes his team’s helicopter to crash.  Everyone is killed, including Trey, or so it says on paper.  Sometime later, Trey wakes up in a cottage in Maine with a personal nurse.  She fills him in on some of the details of what has happened, but will provide very little information.  She oversees Trey’s physical recovery and explains about the brain surgery that was required to save his life.  One night while Trey is outside, a team of combat men show up and murder the nurse.  As they try to find him, Trey dives in the freezing north Atlantic water and manages to swim away before they can kill him too.  Now Trey has no money, no phone, no place to go, and no idea what is going on.  However, he is starting to discover that he has new abilities.  He can ask questions of his mind and discover details about people and places that he shouldn’t know.  It’s almost as if his mind has full access to the internet.  Is this why those men wanted to kill him?

Shannon Lund is a civilian officer with the coast guard investigative service (CGIS). While looking into the accidental climbing death of a coast guard member, things start to resurface for the case of Trey DeBolt.  A private Lear jet took DeBolt to a hospital instead of an air ambulance.  Further investigating tells her that it didn’t go to Anchorage as they were told, but changed the flight plan to Minneapolis and then dropped below 18,000 feet to go visual flight so they wouldn’t be tracked.  Then she receives a call from a detective in Maine that Trey’s fingerprints have been found out a doorknob to a cottage by the coast that was destroyed in an explosion.  Lund’s decision to further investigate could be the end of her career.

This was a new idea of a technological thriller. I enjoyed the way that Larsen played it out with Trey by slowly building up his abilities and scaring him half to death.  It made it feel much more realistic than just suddenly having the full abilities at once.  There was definitely some cat and mouse games going one with some of the characters, which made the story keep going strong in several places.  The main characters were well developed, but sill flawed enough to keep it real.  The plot was exciting and changed once or twice to keep me on my toes.  And the twist was a surprise, but shouldn’t have been unexpected.

If you are looking for a new type of thriller, give this book a try . Then grab the Assassin series!

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