Dick Thornby is not Hollywood's idea of a spy. In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination - just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick's tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives.
But he's also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on "business" trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.
When a young computer expert back at the Philadelphia headquarters for The Subsidiary, an international espionage agency created in the aftermath of 9/11, discovers that bad guys are involved in a vast conspiracy, Dick is forced to partner with the espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.
In the end, Dick can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can't do it all.
©2011 Donald J. Bingle (P)2013 Donald J. Bingle
I enjoyed the story in this book - Dick is not your ordinary spy and some of the gadgetry is no further far fetched that what you'd see in a Bond story. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy the narrator - he's definitely no where near the worst I've listened to from Audible but it took me a little bit to get into his way of reading.
All in all though, a good story.
Net Impact is high impact. They story started strong, got me interested, then the plot and characters grew, layer by layer, far beyond what I had imagined. Mr. Bingle’s story combined with Mr. Pilkenton's multi-voiced narration created a cinematic visual that placed me in the middle of every scene. I learned about areas of the digital world I had never explored, but now feel I have been there.
Throughout the novel there are plenty of explosions. There are blazing machine guns. And there are urban myths that come to life. More importantly, there are real people who are faced with life or death challenges and dig deep within themselves to save the world, while also grasping at the remnants of a once normal life.
That Dick Thornby did not come off as invincible. Intelligent, cunning, yes, but a bit older, not chiseled, with a son he genuinely cares for and is thus vulnerable. Also, the morality of Thornby was not invincible either. He knows the rules, knows the downsides, so that while experiencing Net Impact, listeners can care more about the protagonist while enjoying the tension of the story.
Other books by Bingle also have deeply flawed characters. Greensword in particular, but also my favorite Bingle book, Forced Conversion in which the central morality itself is n question. Net Impact, though, I think is the only Bingle audio book. As to other books, it's really hard to find a story dealing with the connection between virtual reality and real reality in a soy thriller with such a flawed protagonist. That's what makes Net Impact so unique.
I do not know Mr. Pilkenton beyond his work with Net Impact.
I'm not used to listening to audio books in one sitting, but when the opportunity arose to coninue on, I took it.
I enjoyed this book because it has the feel of a summer action blockbuster. It had a great mix of action and humor, twists and turns that I never saw coming, and excellent pacing. Don Bingle has an excellent grasp of the cinematic style, and manages to bring it out in his prose. I kept catching myself humming action music as I was listening, expecting the action soundtrack to kick in at any moment. Anyone who enjoys a good car chase, espionage action, and thrillers will love this book.
I really liked Dick, the main character. The author does a really nice job of making him extremely good at what he does, without having the character come across as super-human. You cringe whenever he runs into trouble, but then cheer when he finds a way out. Throw in a background for the character that goes beyond the usual "no attachments" (or ignored attachments like some authors do) you see in most spy stories, and it makes for a very interesting character.
Pilkenton really managed to capture each and every character. You never needed the author to say "Luke said" to figure out who was speaking. He really helped to bring the characters to life and added a whole other dimension to the characters.
As my favorite character, Dick is extremely memorable, but the supporting cast each had such distinct and interesting personalities that I'm eager to see more about them in the future.
The thing I love is the creation of a world that I just can't wait to get more of. The Subsidiary is a fantastic idea, and feels fresh even though the "secret spy agency" is something we've seen a lot of in film and literature. The author does a great job of putting a new twist. Most importantly, he keeps the idea of spies and espionage relevant in a post cold-war world.
Not looking like it right now.
His voice. I thought it was a whimsical grandfather telling a tale.
Sorry. I couldnt finish it. Got 1/2 way thru and that was an accomplishment.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
I cant say much more to be quite frank. Ordinary. Why I have to say more to meet 'preview' character needs I cannot tell you?
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