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Spyware    by R. J. Pineiro order for
by R. J. Pineiro
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

What happens when a vast conglomerate infiltrates all levels of global governments by using diamond based nanotechnology implants to interface with a supercomputer named ANN? That's the premise of R. J. Pineiro's near-future thriller Spyware.

The conspiracy is brought to light in Brussels, the diamond capitol of the world. Former Navy SEAL and ex-CIA agent, Mac Savage, is set up for the murders of various high ranking diamond merchants who've begun questioning their role within ANN's agenda. But Mac's enemies underestimate his resourcefulness. He manages to escape the tightening net converging all around him, disappears from European radar, and heads to South Africa in search of a former girlfriend, who may have some of the answers he's looking for. She never arrived at the diamond mine she'd gone to investigate. Mac eventually tracks her down as an inmate at a notorious prison camp, but arrives too late. She's been brutalized and murdered for what she uncovered about the Donovan Group's involvement in diamond smuggling.

Now Mac is even more determined to bring down the powerful conglomerate. As is Dana Kovacs, another captive at the camp. The former nanotechnologist's life had also been damaged by the Donovan Group, whose unsavory business practices forced her husband to suicide and sent her into hiding. Mac and Dana's first objective is keeping one step ahead of killers hot on their trail and determined to silence them. The next is cultivating more allies in a last ditch effort to expose not only the Donovan Group but also the increasingly powerful artificial intelligence known as ANN, before its plan to eliminate the human race comes to fruition.

The author's own background is in the development of nanotechnology and he's in his element when describing its mechanics as well as envisioning sinister ways this same technology could be abused. Unfortunately though, the overall pacing suffers from a tendency to overwrite. This is particularly noticeable in most action scenes. Passages of clunky dialogue and confusing transitions can be jarring. Overall, though, Spyware is a thought-provoking techno-thriller with enough plot twists, shady characters and sinister goings-on to keep you flipping the pages to learn who ultimately prevails.

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