Book Review: Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

In a not distant future, Sam Wilson is a tech geek who gets in trouble after carrying out a huge hack that shuts down power to much of America. But, this America is not the one we're used to now. Las Vegas is literally crumbled, there are cameras everywhere, and criminals from all over the world are encroaching on the US via sophisticated computer viruses and pyrotechnics.

Because of Sam's talent, he is recruited for the dream job that he never knew existed: to work for the US in the Cyber Defense sector of the Homeland Security Department. He is paid very well, but the stakes are high: He is constantly in physical and mental danger. The physical danger is obvious, but the mental danger does not occur to him until it's too late. The advanced neuro-headset that allows him to control his computer without a keyboard or mouse may also re-wire his brain. His thoughts may no longer be his own, but under the control of the very terrorists he's trying to fight.

I was afraid when I first started reading this book that I would be lost in the technological terms and the computer nerd-speak. Not true. It was not only very readable, but also pretty suspenseful. I definitely read this quickly, even though it's not a read that is typical for me. If you enjoy Cory Doctorow (of Little Brother and For the Win), or liked the movie War Games back in 1983, you might like this book.  It has a bit of a dystopic element to it, but the world-changing events that lead up to the story are not explained in great detail. Overall, this is a great read that left me with lots of thoughts about technology and how it's changing our world.