Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009 Support Your Local Library Book Review 4: Killing Time by Caleb Carr

The year is 2023, the pandemic of 2006 killed millions, the crash of 2007 ruined many national economies, the 2018 assassination of President Emily Forrester traumatized the nation and the Internet rules the world.

New York criminologist and professor Dr. Gideon Wolfe is visited by the widow of a famous special effects genius. She hands him a disc from her late husband, hidden away by him in a bank vault. Why? It looks like the well-viewed images of the assassination of President Forrester were not the original footage but were tampered with and changed. Investigating, Gideon Wolfe meets Malcolm, his sister Larissa and their merry band, perpetrators of this hoax and others. Malcolm believes that the Information Age is terrible and corrupt…his idea is that his hoaxes will be discovered and throw into question all the information received from digital sources. The problem is that his hoaxes are all believed.

While the premise is far-fetched and the actions taken by the “heroes” is questionable (including a lot of shooting with futuristic weapons), the book is thought provoking.

This is a book I would have read with my teen-age kids-an adventure yet thought provoking on issues of interest to them…computers, the internet, the fast pace of information today…leading to interesting dinner conversations. (We read a lot of Michael Crichton) There are also enough “howlers” that the kids would have enjoyed poking fun at the old guy writing the book…here’s just one:
“I switched on my computer, printed out the first section of the late edition of the NY Times….” (printed out?!!!!)

Do I think that the Internet is the villain of society today…obviously not, but read this book, think about it, and you decide.

Check out 2009 Support Your Local Library for lots more book reviews.

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