inSyte by Greg Kiser

It’s Tampa Bay and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch Double Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics. More than mere information – Mitch can see into men’s hearts and be all places at all times (easy in an ‘always on’ surveillance society with fourth generation tweets). Sort of like God.
If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.
Mitch wants to market his discovery to cure blindness, solve poverty, and prove something to his mother. But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.
At the centre of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.

inSyte was a bit of a tough nut to crack for me. It took up to 100 pages before I was really into the story, but after that I really enjoyed it.

The writing style is a bit off for me at times, I think it's a bit more modern than I'm used to, and the sometimes needless cursing annoyed me the (thankfully) few times it appeared. I have no problems with characters swearing their heads off, but when the narrator starts to do it, I think it's out of place (example (from memory): "she picked up the fucking cup"). However, the writing and narrating also really added a certain pace to the story and after thinking about the book for over a week before writing this review I've realised the depth of the actual plot and the hint of doom day that lies in technology and evolution.

My only real problem with the plot is the random supernatural element of the wolf-like killer. It seems rather off in an otherwise futuristic sci-fi novel to throw in something that belongs in a paranormal horror story.
I also lacked a bit further delving into the main characters. We learn about Mitch's past and personality gradually throughout the story, but Woody just seems to be there as a plot device as well as the two girls. Furthermore it bothered me a bit that the only two women we meet in the story besides Kate and her friend, are painted as utter slags with no redeeming qualities. Same as with some of the menfolk who are also just a bit too stereotypical.

inSyte takes place some 10 years in the future and technology has taken yet another quantum leap and though I was at first a bit dubious I later on realised that it is quite possible for everything in the book to transpire. Humans are a terrible species and technology will no doubt cause many issues (and already is). It's not all bad though, as the book also paints a picture of hope and good. Particularly during the last 150 pages or so I had a tough time putting it down, I could almost see the motion picture in my head.

A recommended read if you enjoy futuristic novel with a slightly dystopian twist and a heavy dose of technology - or if you simply have read enough about fancy vampires and want something a little more heavy.

389 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2011

Many thanks to the author for supplying me with a copy of the book


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