Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Nook Review: "Quantum Breach" by Denver Acey

Denver Acey

Debuting author, Denver Acey, drew upon a lifetime of professional experience in cyber-security when crafting his first novel, Quantum Breach. Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of this growing global threat, and the criminals behind it, were his motivation.

Acey’s bio reveals his frustration. “Hackers are more intelligent and more sophisticated than simple teenagers who guzzle down Mountain Dew while playing video games. Cyber crime is a billion-dollar business that encompasses organized crime and foreign governments. For these elite hackers, the fruits of success are iconic trademarks, innovative patents, and government secrets.”

Quantum Breach brings all these elements together in a story that immerses the reader in cyber trade secrets and intriguing plot twists, while highlighting the tenacity, and sometimes brutality, of this new breed of criminal.

Tanner Zane understands this mindset. It was once his own, that is until hackers targeted his grandmother, wiping out the resources built over a lifetime of hard work. Her suffering was an epiphany for Tanner, who cleaned up his act, took on a legitimate job, gave his own ill-got fortune away to charity, and opened his heart to the religion that gave purpose to his former girlfriend, Megan Holland.

Tanner feared his past locked some doors forever, like the one that led back to Megan, but others had opened wide to him, and after seven successful years at his new firm, Tanner earned a corporate-sponsored two-month sabbatical, which he planned to spend on an extended road trip  enjoying his parents’ company. But when Tanner enters their home to pick them up, he finds them bound and gagged, and he too is attacked, bound, and driven to an unknown location in the desert.

He and his parents are held in separate, unfamiliar places, and soon the plan is revealed. Tanner must use his hacking skills to hijack plans for a world-changing device from one of the most secure facilities imaginable. If he fails, he and his parents will be killed.

But as Tanner methodically progresses on his hacking scheme, he must also create an escape plan subtle enough to go undetected by the dangerous men monitoring him, while communicating his need to some savvy techie before time runs out for him and his parents.

Acey delivers on the creative and technical sides of Quantum Breach, imbuing this novel with a crisp tension spurred on by fascinating technical clues and reveals in almost every chapter.  Acey illuminates the psychology and intimidation that goes into a master hack, which I found particularly delicious.

Quantum Breach does occasionally lag between these intriguing cyber revelations, when dialogue and literary technique alone must carry the read. Acey’s vocabulary choices and phrasing lapse into a YA feel at times, such as his repeated reference to the kidnappers simply as “bad guys,” which lessens their fearsomeness and dilutes the tension.

Even so, the overall appeal of the book makes it a worthy, enjoyable read with enough mystery and suspense to keep die-hards well-engaged, signaling that as good as Quantum Breach is, Acey’s best work is likely yet to come.

Quantum Breach is published by Cedar Fort, and is available on Amazon at

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