Saturday, 30 April 2011
Joe is Online - Chris Wimpress
Title: Joe is Online
Author: Chris Wimpress
The novel "Joe is Online" was passed on to me by the author, Chris Wimpress so that I could review it. I was rather intrigued by the premise of using email, internet chats, blogging, etc. to progress the story rather than using a standard narrative. At first it took a little bit of getting used to, but I found this format very compelling and I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded through the various online interactions.
The story itself spans several decades but starts in the 1990's when we get to see into the troubled mind of child named Joe as he learns to hack and manipulate the online systems. As the years pass, we see Joe building an online cult out of everyday people and then using them to unleash chaos and mayhem upon both the online and offline worlds. Finally, an International Terrorism Expert links all the death and destruction to Joe and so begins her attempt to hunt him down before he can get to her first.
I have to admit that I really enjoyed the various entries from the 1990's, it brought up so much nostalgia about those earlier days of the Internet. I couldn't help but smile to myself as I recognised so many of the thoughts and actions as being similar to my own back then. So if any of you made you first foray into the online world back in the 90's, you may also get a healthy does of nostalgia as the read the earlier portion of the book.
The characters are all well written and very diverse, in fact at first it is hard to see how all these different characters will be brought together. This however is one of the very things that makes the novel so enjoyable, they are brought together in a fascinating plot that keeps you guessing and trying to work out the links yourself.
The only slight issue I do have is with the ending. I found it very ambiguous and I had to read the last few entries a further time before I finally thought I understood what had happened. It was also a little bit of a let down, I just wish it could have been clearer and showed us more about what happened to some of the characters. This was a minor issue though and it didn't really detract the story.
A final note I have is that I want to clarify that there are some adult themes in the novel and some rather colourful language. It shouldn't be an issue for the demographic that I think the novel is aimed at but I thought I should mention in here.
Overall, I found "Joe is Online" to be a cracking first person thriller told in a novel and inventive manner that helped to keep it fast paced and moreish. I look forward to seeing what else Chris Wimpress may bring out in the future.