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Zero Day: A Jeff Aiken Novel | [Mark Russinovich]

Zero Day: A Jeff Aiken Novel

An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction. At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events.
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Publisher's Summary

A technothriller for the malware and Stuxnet era

An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction.

At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events. But Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst who quit in disgust after witnessing the gross errors that led up to 9/11, thinks otherwise. Jeff fears a more serious cyber terrorism attack targeting the United States computer infrastructure is already under way. And as other menacing computer malfunctions pop up around the world, some with deadly results, he realizes that there isn’t much time if he hopes to prevent an international catastrophe.

Written by a global authority on cyber security, Zero Day presents a chilling “what if” scenario that, in a world completely reliant on technology, is more than possible today - it’s a cataclysmic disaster just waiting to happen.

©2011 Mark Russinovich (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1174 )
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3.9 (1073 )
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4.1 (1066 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brian Nebraska, United States 11-06-12
    Brian Nebraska, United States 11-06-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    "Techno-thriller that gets the tech right"
    What did you love best about Zero Day?

    It's not all that common that authors who use technology in their stories get the tech right. Mark does that very well. Since I have a background in tech, getting it wrong would have really taken away from the story. Instead, this was great for a long road trip so I could keep listening.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The use of technology was well placed and well used. This is important for someone who works with technology, otherwise the story would have had major distractions in it


    Any additional comments?

    It feels like this book ends abruptly, but I believe that it continues in Trojan Horse which wasn't available on Audible at the time of this writing.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matts Persic Reno, Nevada 10-01-13
    Matts Persic Reno, Nevada 10-01-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    97
    1
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    Story
    "Boilerplate Storyline; Preachy; Dry; Predictable"
    Would you try another book from Mark Russinovich and/or Johnny Heller?

    Not sure. This story was dry and preachy. It tried too hard to force the points. Cook and Crichton wrap their messages in suspense and storyline... this book just kept citing examples of doom and went nowhere to hold my attention or interest.


    Has Zero Day turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, but I'll hesitate before buying a book from this writer.


    What didn’t you like about Johnny Heller’s performance?

    Dry. No story development.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    None.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 11-11-12
    Bob North Lauderdale, FL, United States 11-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Are you a techie?"

    If you aren't, don't waste a credit. If you are, you will probably enjoy how our new "toys" are being put to use in today's fight against terrorism. Technology is fascinating but can get a bit boring. The author spends way too much time explaining acronyms, it got old. Johnny Heller did a great job narrating.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    1BookJ Hokksund, Norway 11-02-12
    1BookJ Hokksund, Norway 11-02-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Uninspired..."

    Zero Day has an interesting premise, but falls waaaaaay short in execution.

    The only one you get to know a little in this book is the main male character...the others are just plain and uninteresting. The story fails to interest much after the stupid 'TV' start to the book. If you are brave enough to try this one out, you'll know what I mean. The ending...well...anticlimax doesn't cover it.

    This book could have been sooooo much more...some interesting found, but not enough to recommend it to anyone except hard core tech nerds...

    Some notes on the audio book version...when there is code bits in the book...they get spelled out. Kinda tiring considering the first one lasted around 5 minutes.

    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audacious Warner Robins, GA, United States 11-05-12
    Audacious Warner Robins, GA, United States 11-05-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    "Good concept, bad narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Narration... Narration... Narration...
    I couldn't believe my ears when the narrator kept pronouncing malware as mailware... are you serious? I also hear ICQ pronounced IQC.... just horrible narration. I didn't want to take a star away from overall but the narration really take away from the overall experience.


    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Woodbridge, CT, United States 03-18-14
    Jason Woodbridge, CT, United States 03-18-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Mediocre narration for a mediocre story"

    It wasn't great. It wasn't horrible. It was somewhere in between. The narrator has a dry presentation, though he does go for a few accents to differentiate the characters which I appreciated. The story seemed to be a fast-slow-fast pace. I hoped for more computer "geek" in the story. As a 30-year IT professional there are some pretty big holes here. I had to keep telling myself; the author is not in my line of work.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 03-07-14
    Jan 03-07-14 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1379
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    "Not for me"

    Plot sounded great... but execution didn't work for me. Way too much un-needed sex and innuendos, jerky, preachy and I was unable to suspend my disbelief. Think computer pro's racing through New York, Russia and France while people all around them are being murdered. This is not an EOTWAWKI book, rather a near repeat of 9/11 type attack using cyber terrorism. The computer as a risk for doomsday is clearly shown and I would love a more realistic book using that scenario.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa 02-26-14 Member Since 2014

    MikeFromMesa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well researched, except ..."

    I found this to be an interesting book. The information about computers and the internet was spot-on, the details about how viruses work seems correct, the characters were well drawn and interesting and the descriptions of what might happen were all computers in the US and Western Europe to suddenly fail both realistic and frightening.

    The steps the characters took to try to determine what viruses were at work, what they did and what steps would be needed to stop them all seemed reasonable in light of the computer dependent world we live in today. While there were a few too many coincidences for my liking nothing was completely out of the realm of possibility. My complaints are minor. The books seemed a bit too preachy for my taste, there was a bit too much in the way of technical information for those familiar with the way software works, parts of the book do not lend themselves to narration (the narration of assembler code really does not work. That needs to be seen to be understood) and the author needed to do a bit more research on traveling to Russia. The main characters buy an airline ticket, get their passports and just go. But, of course, US citizens cannot just travel to Russia, they need a visa and that takes special paperwork and time.

    Other than those minor items I found the book reasonably interesting without too many glaring issues. All things considered it is a decent (although not great) book about a frightening possibility.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack Daniels 08-19-13 Member Since 2008

    Uplinktruck

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Keep that antivirus software updated"

    A fine technical thriller that held my interest all the way. It moves right along with no flat spots. Every thing the author wrote is accurate and possible in the real world. The coincidence in the back story is kind of a reach, but it works in this book. The story is powerful enough that after listening to it, you will feel the need to update your virus protection and firewall.

    Zero Day made the miles go by fast. I recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SnapMarc Atlanta, GA 06-16-14
    SnapMarc Atlanta, GA 06-16-14 Member Since 2014

    snapmarc

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is not a Daniel Suarez experience"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better narrator who changed voices better and expressed emotion. This reader was not good.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Mark Russinovich again?

    Yes, maybe.


    What about Johnny Heller’s performance did you like?

    His voice was odd No expression, No sense of which character is speaking. Just an overall poor narrator. But hey, I'm used to Jeff Gurner who is the best of the best.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    boredom and disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    The story could have been more enjoyable had it been presented by a better reader. But still, the story line was lackluster and the ending was like a fizzling candle that had a barely glowing flame that smoldered into smoke and died.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Ian
    12/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not bad, but a little amateurish."
    Would you listen to Zero Day again? Why?

    No.
    I don't regret listening to it, but there's nothing particularly memorable about it and there was a lot that I found annoying the first time. There's trends like the 'good guys' being beautiful and perfect, and characters taking the less sensible choice with weak justifications just to move to the next plot point.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It tied together nicely enough, but there were no big surprises.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Definitely not the tech-centric scenes. The book was hyped as being technically accurate given the authors background, but then you get scenes where a company's IT expert is blown away by the concept of a boot-disk. Honestly I was expecting to learn something but it feels like either the author knows very little about it, or the editor had him remove everything that the reader might not understand. Sure it's not your typical fictional sci-fi 'hacking' rubbish, but it's hardly a satisfying pillar of realism.

    Try as I might I can't conjure up any scenes that were memorable for the right reasons, it's just a steady stream of pretty-good punctuated with minor irritations.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Computers be scary, yo!

    (Honestly I have no idea)


    Any additional comments?

    It's not bad, but the author feels very inexperienced; so many clichés and obvious choices. You can tell whether a character is going to be good or evil based on their physical description, and there's very little grey-area.
    Once you accept that it's not going to be the best book you've read all year it's alright; it moves a long at a reasonable pace, and there's a decently collection of characters to follow.

    It was good enough that I decided to try out the sequels as well; they're better, the author has clearly improved with practice, but they're still not fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marcus Paine
    London
    7/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pacey researched plot, horribly cliche characters"

    This was recommended for me by the Audible/Amazon bots after reading Kill Decision and Daemon by Daniel Suarez and The Avogadro Corp by William Hertling.

    The plot is well thought out and clearly the author knows a lot about the subject which made the scenarios believable, even if at times, the strings of code will leave the layman feeling a bit left behind.

    I did enjoy the plot, but was continually irritated by the two dimensional female characters and the one dimensional thought processes being portrayed as going through the male characters minds. Perhaps it is a real insight into the programmers mind?

    Sadly, the narrator had a real problem with French pronunciation which also grated as the plot went international.

    So, in summary, a pacey and well researched plot with some interest and a well made important message about computer security, but not very well written in my opinion. Try the books above for more inventiveness and excitement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ash
    Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "A gripping tech thriller..."

    Unlike many techno-thrillers this pretty much has all of the details spot on, for those of you that don't live/work in the IT world it's worth pointing out that whilst this might sound fantastical it's all possible which I think makes it an even better read. Don't hesitate, download the book now and whilst you're listening to the first chapters update your antivirus package and make sure your Windows updates are installed!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donn Edwards
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    10/29/12
    Overall
    "Terrifyingly Realistic"

    Mark Russinovich knows his stuff like few other PC experts today. He manages to bring this knowledge (and his concerns about computer security) to life is a most realistic story. He also avoids most technical jargon and puts across his ideas using real English, not techno-babble.



    Johnny Heller does a great job of narrating this book, and its sequel, Trojan Horse.



    If you don't start doing an anti-malware scan on your PC while reading this book, you aren't paying attention!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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