A timely adventure explores corporate malfeasance, executive greed and the deadly consequences of unmanned aerial vehicles gone astray.
When a private undercover firm is hired to investigate the deteriorating work environment at a respected U.S. military contractor, top managers stand to lose everything. The assignment to uncover the cause of poor morale and declining stock prices at NanoLance becomes a race to prevent further deaths caused by rogue drones. Aided by an interesting format for chapter delineation, Wolfe keeps readers turning the pages as the action blows past with little meaningful character development. The novel highlights Wolfe’s self-stated love for technology—exacting descriptions of electronic spyware, sophisticated communication devices and unmanned aerial vehicles figure prominently in the story, with most technology described in more detail than the living, breathing characters who appear on the scene with little to no background. They’re just there to keep the story running. The brief description of heroine Alex Hoffmann’s strange childhood begs the question of how her parents shifted from loving to startlingly abusive. For the other characters, no history is offered at all. Why did “The Agency” work so hard to recruit Alex for their team—indeed, what is “The Agency”? Opening chapters suggest a government connection, but that direction stalls. The top brass’ behavior at NanoLance becomes too pathological to be plausible, although Wolfe cleverly exposes the peculiar effects of fear on quality in the work place. Stylistically, the narrative has a tendency to stumble in awkward phrasing—“Janet Tempelton … was only five minutes away of Mrs. Kingsley’s address”; “She had no idea when the time had flown”—which cools the plot’s otherwise fiery jets.
A highflying, cautionary tale of unrestrained technology—some narrative assembly required.