The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels, but I am going to make a rare exception for William Hertling, author of the Singularity series, because even though his latest novel, Kill Process, is presently written as a standalone novel, Hertling is considering developing it into a series.
William Hertling’s previous Singularity series was about the future when technology surpasses human intelligence and the ultimate consequences. In Kill Process, however, Hertling focuses on technology that exist in our present world and the destructive forces behind it. Kill Process centers on the character Angelina ‘Angie’ Benenati, a brilliant computer scientist that has a history of hacking. Angie works for a company known as Toma, which is a fictional company that has some strong similarities to Facebook. Angie was with Toma during its early rise as a company, but presently has become disillusioned with what Toma has become, a powerful company that uses unscrupulous practices to make money. She decides that a competitor to Toma is necessary to take the air out of it, so she breaks free of Toma to create a company known as Tapestry.
Angie Benenati is one of the most complex characters that I have ever encountered in a techno-thriller and is the main reason that Kill Process is a must read. Behind the brilliant façade that is Angelina Benenati is a highly troubled individual, whose past of abuse and victimization has led her to commit iniquitous acts of violence using her abilities as a hacker. Angie is a paradox, there are parts of me that wants to like this characters, but on the other hand I’m appalled at many of her actions. Benenati’s acts of vigilantism leave me torn, as part of me can understand why she has chosen what she has done and secretly applaud it, but at the same time I feel her acts are vengeful, irresponsible and contradictory to what she wants to achieve by creating Tapestry.
Additionally, the mixed feelings that I have for Benenati make it difficult to dislike the villains in this story, which one of them happens to be the CEO of Toma, Louis Rasmussen, which would be the fictional equivalent of Mark Zuckerberg. The image of Zuckerberg’s smiling face in my mind along with Benenati’s serial killer tendencies makes it difficult to envision Rasmussen as the devil incarnate (and no, I did not see the ‘Social Network’). This, of course, deflates the ending somewhat which in other circumstances would be quite exciting.
Kill Process definitely emphasizes the techno in techno-thriller as there is a lot of computer terminology used throughout the novel. Even though my background is not in IT, and a lot of the technology I am not familiar with, I was still able to get the general idea of what was going on and I believe it will appeal to anyone that likes techno-thrillers.
I enjoyed Kill Process and I do hope that Hertling continues this as a series, as I am curious to see how Angie deals with her demons as this issue is not resolved with the ending.