REVIEW SUMMARY: Contemporary era thriller with a preference for over-dramatized responses to tense and dire situations. Good for a quick read if you like that sort of thing, but not for readers looking for characters to sympathize with or prose to remember.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Mike Mitchell has a problem. His wife is struggling to fit her old-money roots alongside Mike’s blue-collar foundations, and his career plan isn’t shaping up to help matters much. Also, the power is out, the water is off, it’s New York’s worst blizzard since the Ice Age, and the entire city is about to find itself up the Hudson River without so much as a folded paper sailboat.
PROS: Cyberstorm is rich with tension and peril; there’s no trouble sympathizing with New Yorkers trying to survive in the midst of a massive systems failure during one of the worst snowstorms on record; national and international response to the crisis feels authentic and believable; pacing is spot-on with breaks in the action and detours into subplots blended seamlessly with the main narrative.
CONS: The characters in Cyberstorm were dull and half-formed, serving only to be placeholders; other than Mike, everyone else seemed to wait in the wings for their moment and otherwise lingered around so Mike had someone to talk to or look at; women, in particular, got very short shrift in this story; Mather overdoes the gore and amplifies people’s responses to desperation; the conclusion was also a complete let-down.
BOTTOM LINE: As a thriller-adventure story, Cyberstorm will appeal to readers of mainstream contemporary thrillers. With warnings aplenty about what might happen if we’re not careful, Cyberstorm has the pacing, action, technical details, and political intrigue to satisfy readers looking for a story that hints at dangers in our modern computer- and information-dependent landscape. If you’re looking for a speculative fiction escape into the realms of possibility with memorable characters and exciting prose, look elsewhere.