NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, June 17, 2011

Devil's Plaything by Matt Richtel

3.0 out of 5 stars Step away from your computer!, June 17, 2011
This was an OK thriller that has to do with the bad guys using computer technology to secretly mess with peoples' brains and their memories. But why? The main character, a medical blog writer and former doctor named Nat Idle, and his grandmother Lane are running around San Francisco trying to figure out why her dementia is progressing so rapidly and what memories of hers have been tampered with or altered. Nat is detracted from solving the mystery by suspicious characters at every turn. He can't seem to get answers from the caregivers at the nursing home where Lane lives or from her neurologist, nor from a quasi military type venture capitalist named Chuck who appears out of nowhere to save Nat and his grandmother from an attack by a gun toting man in a Prius.

The action scenes are there and the ingredients for a fast paced thriller are in place, but the story and the main plot really don't go anywhere. The narrative seems to be more a social commentary about the danger to human minds because of multitasking and the internet than a real suspense thriller. The revelations about the "big secret" that Grandma Lane has and the resultant case breaking clues that are finally exposed aren't really very exciting and the story sort of limps to a less than compelling or satisfying conclusion. The moral of the story seems to be that humans should stop using computers and have more face-to-face interactions with their loved ones lest we all forget simple things, ruin our long term memories and our brains.

Fine, escapist beach read -- don't expect a high octane thrill ride because it's not found in these pages.

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