by Dave Zeltserman
3 stars - better than watching the grass grow... just
ALR Blue - not an animal in sight, not even a bird in a tree
From the back cover
Dan, Shrini, Joel, and Gordon were all software engineers. Now they're out of work thanks to outsourcing. They might not have any job prospects but they have a plan. Desperate, and seeing their middle class lives crumbling apart, they come up with a fail safe way to use their computing skills to knock over a bank. But not even a systems analyst can foresee every eventuality, especially when the Russian Mafia in involved.
So I'm thinking, yeah, that looks pretty good. It will be all about what happens to middle aged folks when their jobs go away and have some possibly plausible stuff about software. Nope. So wrong.
First off, these big cry babies went through a failed start up. Boo hoo. If all the startups I worked at had succeeded I'd be a gazillion-aire. I know lots of good engineers who lose their jobs late in their careers and never get work in their field again, so just the fact of that isn't enough to make me jump on board with the characters in the book.
I disliked everybody from the start. Dan, the mastermind, is pissed off about his job prospects so when he lands a contracting gig to oversee a bank project where the code is written in India, he takes it upon himself to add a backdoor silent alarm shutdown to the code. Did you hear that? We aren't talking about taking advantage of poorly written code, we're talking about an alleged professional intentionally putting bugs in a piece of SW he is being paid to manage. BEEP! One point down.
Next he seems to have a perfectly clear conscience regarding the peripheral damage from his little bank job. Does it not occur to him that the folks in India who wrote the code could lose their jobs? Folks who are just doing their job and actually did it correctly. How about the bank manager? Oh yeah, he's all kinds of mad at the bank manager for sending the work to India, but he doesn't pause to think that the manager might be operating under impossible constraints. BEEP! Two points down.
Then there are his fellow disenchanted crew who are certainly not like any SW engineers that I know and are, to a man, total creeps. BEEP BEEP! Double point deduction for misrepresenting nerds.
And how the heck do you even write a book where there is not a squirrel or bird or tree or grass or any kind of scenery at all? BEEP! Um, hello?
About now, you're asking yourself, "Hey, Mango Momma, you sound pretty mad at the book, so why even three stars?"
Well, if you forget about the false hook of the title and teaser, then it isn't bad as a fast read, everybody gets screwed, bank heist kind of story.