The focus of my blog is to review book series and not individual novels. But writers are going to continue writing novels within a series even after I have done my review, so I plan on reviewing the individual novels as they come into circulation. Christopher Kerns has just recently added book #2, Crashed Into Pieces to the Haylie Black series.
This presidential election season has been the most entertaining in my memory and I am sure that many of us will be happy when it is over. Even though the mudslinging has been at its best, there has been some important crucial topics that have been raised. One of the important issues that has been introduced is the effect of hacking on an election. Of course, there’s been the recent hacks reportedly done by the Russians which have released, through WikiLeaks, pertinent information found in emails related to the Hilary Clinton campaign. But more concerning is the comments made by Donald Trump that the election is being rigged which has raised concerns from numerous sources on whether or not the election itself can be hacked. Some say it is impossible to hack the election, but there are a number of reliable sources they say it is a strong possibility. I bring this up because indie author Christopher Kerns has recently released his latest novel from the Haylie Black series which looks into an election hack.
Haylie Black, aka Crash, is a very talented teenage hacker that after events from the previous novel, Crash Alive, is under house arrest for her exploits in hacking. Even though the outcome of her hacking resulted in saving the world from total disaster, the government realizes that Black is a dangerous individual that needs to be tamed, so they have made a deal with her – go to college and be supervised by an FBI agent or go to jail. Part of the deal is that she is to refrain from using any computer or technology that she could use as a means to hack. This lack of technology is driving her crazy, so when she is given the opportunity to help the FBI track down a hacker raising havoc, she reluctantly accepts the offer. But finding the hacker is only part of the story, as she reveals the true motive behind the hack is to influence the outcome of the presidential election which ultimately results in her facing a moral dilemma that will change her forever.
When I reviewed Crash Alive, I mentioned that this was one of the most fun thrillers that I have read in a while and I’m not kidding. Haylie Black is a great character and a great role model for young women interested in technology. You may ask, how can a hacker be considered a good role model? Hackers are credited for being the scoundrels of our technologically driven world. Many are criminals that have learned just enough computer code to steal people’s identities and money while others are highly sophisticated groups often with a government agenda. But a number of them are brilliant individuals that hack mostly for the challenge and the adrenaline. A number of these hackers are eventually incarcerated only to later become highly useful individuals. Haylie Black is a lot like this, who started out as a black hat hacker, but is finding out life is considerably better being on the right side of the law.
Crash Into Pieces is considerably darker than the previous novel Crash Alive. Two characters that I really liked were irreparably damaged which made for a sad ending. Crash Into Pieces is very thought provoking and I think that Lord Acton’s quote, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” summarizes the general theme.
Though Crash Into Pieces could be read as a standalone, I think it would be beneficial to read Crash Alive first.
To learn more about the series check out Christopher Kerns’ Haylie Black series.