Simple Simon

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With Simple Simon, master storyteller Ryne Douglas Pearson takes action and intrigue to dizzying heights. In Chicago's quiet suburbs, sixteen-year-old Simon Lynch is about to become the focus of a global struggle of covert forces. When Simon, an autistic and a savant possessed with mathematical genius, unknowingly cracks the newest, most secure code developed by the National Security Agency, he becomes the innocent target of a deadly plan. Simon's life depends on an unlikely ally, Special Agent Art Jefferson, the...
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With Simple Simon, master storyteller Ryne Douglas Pearson takes action and intrigue to dizzying heights. In Chicago's quiet suburbs, sixteen-year-old Simon Lynch is about to become the focus of a global struggle of covert forces. When Simon, an autistic and a savant possessed with mathematical genius, unknowingly cracks the newest, most secure code developed by the National Security Agency, he becomes the innocent target of a deadly plan. Simon's life depends on an unlikely ally, Special Agent Art Jefferson, the number two man at the FBI's field office in the Windy City. To save Simon, Special Agent Jefferson must face his greatest challenge - Keiko Kimura, a terrorist as beautiful as she is lethal. But Jefferson soon discovers that he is also being hunted in cyberspace by unknown forces within the intelligence community, forces perhaps closer than he'd like to think. The bond between Art and Simon turns out to be as crucial to their survival as Art's decades of experience in the FBI. Simon lives within his own world of numbers, letters, and words, and to reach him, Art must risk everything or gain nothing. And Simon, too, must learn to look outside himself and trust his new friend.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
FYI: An Avon paperback of Capitol Punishment will also be published in July.
Library Journal
Sixteen-year-old Simon is autistic but very good at puzzles. When he breaks the main computer code for the National Security Agency (NSA), he is perceived as a threat. After the NSA's first attempt kills his parents, Simon is befriended by a Chicago FBI agent, Art Jefferson. The NSA then tries to eliminate Jefferson, first manipulating FBI charges against him, then arranging his wife's arrest. Running from the NSA and the FBI, Jefferson and Simon are then beset by a Japanese assassin with a taste for sadistic methods. The action culminates in a shoot-out on top of Chicago's Sears Tower and a fiery crash over Lake Michigan. Action-packed and fast-paced, with pungent prose, Pearson's (Capitol Punishment, LJ 7/95) latest novel is a cyberthriller that keeps the reader flipping pages frantically. Recommended for public libraries.-M.J. Simmons, Duluth P. L., Minn.
Emily Melton
This cleverly crafted suspense thriller features a standard 1990s theme: the government agency run amok. Energizing this slightly hackneyed premise with a unique slant, Pearson casts as his hero an autistic teenager who is brilliant at solving number puzzles. When 16-year-old Simon Lynch inadvertently cracks the secret code of the National Security Agency, faceless bad guys within the agency send a terrorist to eliminate him. Enter Art Jefferson, FBI agent and husband of Simon's psychologist. Determined as the bad guys are to get Simon, Art is more determined to protect the young innocent. In spite of a few unlikely leaps of logic and improbable plot twists, Pearson offers up plenty of mile-a-minute action along with his appealing, if unlikely, protagonist. Excellent entertainment from first page to last.
Kirkus Reviews
A crowded, violent thriller involving an autistic boy who effortlessly cracks a supposedly unbreakable government communications codeā€”and then becomes the target of murderous villainy from shady Washington spies and a sadistic Japanese hit- woman.

In this fourth outing, African-American FBI agent Art Jefferson, who previously saved America from a bomb-throwing white supremacist (Capitol Punishment, 1995), has recovered from a heart attack and is now happily married to child-psychologist Anne. Among Anne's patients is Simon Lynch, a cute, childlike, Dustin Hoffmanstyle autistic teenager with astounding mathematical abilities. Given a magazine of puzzles to solve, Simon decodes a series of numbers that instructs him to call an 800 number to receive a prize. The number rings into a top-secret National Security Agency spy den that has just spent $10 billion developing this code for use in all sensitive government communications. (The code had been dropped into the magazine to test its supposed invulnerability.) A tracer on the call alerts a series of fiendish bureaucrats, one of whom dispatches an assassin to Simon's address. Meanwhile, Keiko Kimura, a Japanese terrorist who tortures and cannibalizes her victims, comes to America to steal the government code. Agent Jefferson becomes a target for warring government bureaucracies, as well as a possible meal for Kimura, when he protects the now-orphaned Simon from yet another enemy, a diabolical computer-hacker known only as Rothchild. In a story crammed with too many characters, most of them villains speaking in clipped, enigmatic bureaucratese, Pearson's plot takes a while to work up to speed. Though hastily rendered, Agent Jefferson and Simon nonetheless become anchors in the resulting storm of bloodshed as people are killed off as fast as they're introduced.

The Chicago landscape, meantime, is dimly glimpsed, and the climactic, glass-shattering shoot-out on top of the Sears Tower seems lifted from the Die Hard movies.

Booklist - Emily Melton
"...cleverly crafted suspense thriller...plenty of mile-a-minute action... Excellent entertainment from first page to last."
Library Journal - M.J. Simmons
"...a cyberthriller that keeps the reader flipping pages frantically."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380725748
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Series: Art Jefferson and Frankie Aguirre Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Ryne Douglas Pearson is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of several novels, including Cloudburst, October's Ghost, Capitol Punishment, Simple Simon, Top Ten, The Donzerly Light, All For One, Confessions, and Cop Killer. He is also the author of the short story collection, Dark and Darker. His novel Simple Simon was made into the film Mercury Rising. As a screenwriter he has worked on numerous movies. The film Knowing, based on his original script, was released in 2009 and opened #1 at the box office. Receiving Four Stars from Roger Ebert, who branded it 'among the best science-fiction films I've seen', it went on to earn more than $180 million worldwide. He has also done uncredited work on films such as the remakes of The Day The Earth Stood Still and The Eye.

Despite the often 'dark' nature of his novels and films, Pearson has been noted to have a 'sweet, disarming quality' by Entertainment Weekly-an accusation he has been unable to shake. When not writing he is usually thinking about writing, or touting the wonders of bacon in online conversations. He is addicted to diet soda and the sound of his children laughing. A west coast native, he lives in California with his wife, children, a Doberman Kelpie and a Beagle Vizsla.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2011

    Packed with Action and Ingenuity

    I just finished reading Ryne Douglas Pearson's SIMPLE SIMON. I have to say it was a book I found very difficult to put down.

    The action begins early in this story as we meet an autistic teen named Simon. Although Simon's social interactions are severely stunted, his doctors have discovered that he has amazing puzzle-solving abilities. As a sort of experiment, one of Simon's physicians gives him a MENSA-type magazine for the super-intelligent, just to see if the puzzle section interests Simon.

    As Simon sits in his room flipping through the magazine, a page filled with seemingly random number sequences catches his interest. But it's not just a puzzle. It's the NSA's newest cryptography algorithm -- an "unbreakable" code that goes by the name of KIWI. To Simon's great misfortune, he breaks the KIWI code, then unwittingly informs its creators of his success. Now unethical bureaucrats want him out of the picture.

    This all happens in just the first few chapters of SIMPLE SIMON. I won't spoil the story for you by telling the rest. Suffice it to say that the action doesn't let up.

    Some readers have noted that this book contains "gratuitous violence." I'm not a big fan of blood and gore myself. And I could have done without a few of the more graphic scenes. But overall, this is a great book with a well-researched and intriguing story -- a human story, a spy story and a story filled with action and suspense.

    If you haven't read SIMPLE SIMON, I highly recommend it. (Probably an age 15+ selection, though.) Then watch the movie SIMPLE SIMON inspired - Mercury Rising. That's my next stop.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Fast moving thriller and superb character study

    "Simple Simon" is a fast-moving thriller that is difficult to put down. Superbly written and well thought out, the book was a pleasure to read cover to cover. It is a techno-thriller to be sure, but the most beautifully written part is the portrayal of the character of Simon. An autistic teenager, Simon's life has been highly regulated and structured by his parents and doctors to provide a mechanism for him to cope, to interact with people, and to function within the bounds of his own little world. When that world is suddenly thrown into chaos, Pearson does a wonderful job of showing us how Simon struggles in his own way to keep his life on track and consistently simple despite the absolute whirlwind of destruction spinning around him and everyone with whom he comes in contact. Ironically, he becomes the one point of consistent sanity in a world gone mad. I particularly liked the interaction with his new friend, Art, a man who clearly feels inadequate, but who ultimately rises to the task. I highly recommend "Simple Simon," and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    Posted June 9, 2013

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    Posted October 26, 2011

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