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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.
Posted June 25, 2011
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.
Posted June 10, 2011
"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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2013
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Posted October 26, 2011
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