T. D. Holt began his professional life developing semiconductor materials in the early pioneering days of Silicon Valley. Patent holder on various Internet technologies, CEO of web-technology pioneer SurfWax.com, and publisher of child-development materials for the past forty years and , "HoloHead" is his third novel. His first two novels "Oblique" and "Substrate" are thrillers highly recommended by Midwest Book Review.
“Holt’s novel is a satisfying blend of sci-fi, suspense, and romance. A tech-driven thriller...”
– Kirkus Reviews
A threat to national security spurs an intuitive, quick-thinking Seattle couple into action to save the world.
Holt’s fourth novel seems ripped from contemporary headlines: It is set nearly a year after a shocking presidential election unmoors America. As racial unrest, political opportunism, and the infectious Covid-19 virus aggressively spread fear and panic across the country, in the eyes of 6-foot-4 ex–Army intelligence officer–turned–lawyer and blogger Pete, “civil society is tipping toward a permanent chasm.” Adding to this overwhelming state of affairs is the rumor that a Luddite-minded group called NuLud has engineered a subatomic particle with the potential to block electrons and permanently disable the global internet. On a desperate hunt for answers, Pete joins forces with his attractive Jamaican friend, downstairs neighbor, and secret love, Sophie, who happens to be a university quantum physicist. Together, the intrepid millennials embark on an international mission to first find the scientist who leaked the rumor and then join the race against Russian Federal Security counteroperatives to thwart the global catastrophe of a cyberterrorism weapon. Written as chronological blog posts that often address readers directly, the novel delivers a deliberate initial setup that belies the rousing chapters that whisk readers through a rapid succession of locations like South America and France. Romantically, the duo’s physical attraction is mutual and undeniable, and Sophie, whose real name is Lani, introduces a religious and emotional element into the budding relationship. Pete reliably and charmingly narrates the action from his perspective as a science-loving nerd hot on the trail of a big conspiracy who is hoping to get the girl of his dreams along the way. Holt has created an endearing character in Pete and adds brief perspectives on race, national security, and technological omnipresence to a thriller that is as introspective, thought-provoking, and socially conscious as it is suspenseful, particularly in the book’s final third. Employing a smooth mixture of action and intrigue with a large dose of self-aggrandizing good humor, the author will capture readers’ attention with two winning heroes.
A provocative, timely, urgently told thrill ride sure to resonate with suspense and romance fans.
Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2020
Page count: 286pp
Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2020
Author Holt’s (Substrate, 2016, etc.) innovative thriller drives home the fact that technology isn’t always our friend.
This is Holt’s second novel featuring Lincoln “Mac” MacMahan, a professor and veteran suffering from PTSD. In Oblique (2016), Mac and his students uncovered a government plot to influence the upcoming presidential election (where do authors get such outlandish ideas?). This time around, Mac; his wife, Mindy; and his students discover a foreign scheme to replace the newly elected Margie Perserve, the first female U.S. president, who seeks to unify the country after her divisive predecessor’s nefarious plan failed. But the autocratic, lascivious ruler of an Asian country has Perserve kidnapped, replacing her with an undetectable solid hologram that enables him to direct American policy. As Holt explains in his preface, these are “Hologram forms with self-sustaining space occupancy, light energy, behavior, touch, and mass. A human facsimile, a replica out of thin air, vectored by the nation’s artificial intelligence (AI) backend.” The president’s husband, Roy, a former solider like Mac, notices changes in his wife’s behavior. Around that same time, Mac and Mindy discover inexplicable shifts in the president’s policies. They bring in computer whiz Justin, one of Mac’s students, who uses a filter and finds something suspicious in recent images of Perserve. It’s a race to uncover the imposter and free the president from her overseas captors. Holt’s novel is a satisfying blend of sci-fi, suspense, and romance. He paces his narrative well. The reader is shuttled from Asia to Washington, D.C., to New York as the tension builds. Holt, who comes from a technological background, makes the holographic process believable, no small feat. The novel, however, assumes a tiresomely earnest tone. The leader and his minions are evil, while all the Americans are morally correct. This is especially evident when it comes to the two couples, Mac and Mindy and Margie and Roy: “I do know that what kept me going through all my recovery were dreams of you and your embrace. Imagining that you loved me,” Mindy says. Still, action wins the day here and largely distracts from the flaws.
A tech-driven thriller; entertaining despite the inflated prose.
Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2018
Page count: 282pp
Publisher: Time Tunnel Media
Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2018
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