2.5 STARS"It is a historical truism that any technology that can be used for pornography or other applications in the sex industry will succeed."I want to give this an outright 2 but I can't bring myself to let it fall in the same category as my recent 2-star reads so 3 it is.Reading this book felt like how I imagine being driven in a Maserati… for a dinner date at a McDonald's. I love me some Chicken McNuggets but it's kind of a let-down considering.It started quite well. The main characters were engaging and the backdrop of New London and the Administration in itself was intriguing. Everyone is named like a rock star or a secret agent and with a hero named Valentin Toreth, somehow you just know he doesn't spend his days in a Starbucks updating his blog on preserving biodiversity in the Amazon. You know you're in for something intense. I really liked Warrick and Toreth's scenes together, the mind games that they play with each other and their tight dialogue exchanges were brilliant. This is so far and beyond the usual read that I dabble in and while there are a great deal of disappointments, it was quite refreshing not to see a lead character trapped in a nasty love triangle or a hero/heroine every guy/girl in the book is after-- that role, funnily, was filled by a computer simulation program everyone is somewhat chasing. The way this was written, my expectations just ratcheted up as I read along. It just felt like nothing but a mind-blowing resolution to all these threads Manna Francis was weaving would be logical. I was formulating and reformulating theories on what the duck was going on which was pretty tough with all the tech and corporate jargon flying around."We use various techniques - short contracts, specialisation, nodular design - which make it difficult to hire knowledge away from us. I designed the system architecture and wrote the core systems, and literally no one else knows precisely how they work. But it is the most basic fundamental measure, yes."Yeah, if you're planning to pick up this book, be ready to tackle a whole lot of THAT, confusing abbreviations and lengthy narratives on Toreth's thought process while he tries to crack this case. I was anticipating a bigger pay-off which, sadly just ended up as a big bowl of meh. The reading experience felt a lot like reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for me where there was a lot of atmospheric build-up that was failed by a sputtering climax. Which means this would probably work better in film. I'm not yet convinced I should pick up the rest of the books in this series, though everyone says it gets better. Maybe if I can be reassured that there'd be none or at least minimal mention of systems, datas, codes and programs then maybe.Otherwise it feels just like a drinking game waiting to happen.