B.S. –Business Administration, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
M.B.A.- University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Thriller Sub-genre: Techno-thriller
Future of the Series: The most recent book in the series is entitled Crash Into Pieces and was just released on 10/11/2016.
The Simon Review
Christopher Kerns has recently released his first book, Crash Alive, from his Haylie Black series and I have to say it is one of the best thrillers that I have read in a while, and being a reviewer of thrillers that says a lot. Crash Alive is labeled as a young adult novel mainly because the protagonist, Haylie Black is a 17 year old, and like most 17 year old girls, she deals with typical adolescent issues, such as going to school, dealing with high school cliques and, of course, the ever present desire for a budding romance. But Black is not your typical teenager, she is also a computer whiz and a brilliant hacker. Even though Crash Alive is labeled as a young adult novel, it will definitely appease those of us that have long passed puberty, as Black’s abilities would impress any adult with an inclination toward geekdom.
Black’s adventure begins when she finds out that her brother, Caesar, has gone missing. Like Haylie, Caesar also has a natural inclination toward computer science, and had been working on solving an internet puzzle known as Raven 2309 when he disappeared. Caesar was trying to solve the puzzle for his employers, twin brothers Benjamin and Walter Sterling, CEOs of a startup company known as Brux. The Sterlings have taken an interest in finding Caesar and approach Haylie to help them find him. Haylie then uses all her skills to work through an ever increasing complicated and dangerous puzzle to hopefully find her brother on the other end, but instead finds something considerably more sinister and shatters her trust in humanity.
There is a little bit of everything in Crash Alive– real world technology, secret societies, thrills galore, and a protagonist that you can’t help but like. There is no doubt in my mind Crash Alive is a winner, and I am looking forward to reading the next installment of the series.
What about the science?
It seems that there is bit of Christopher Kerns in Haylie Black. Kerns “day” job when he is not writing, for what I am sure will be his next best-selling thriller, is Vice President of Research and Insight at a social marketing company known as Spredfast, and has been a data analyst consultant for over 20 years. Bottom line, Kerns is a gadget guy and loves technology, and he puts that love of technology into Haylie Black. So the technology behind Haylie’s escapades definitely has state-of-the-art technology behind it.
The Haylie Black Technical Word in Review: Fibonacci sequence– The Fibonacci sequence is one of those mathematical oddities that has fascinated mathematicians for years. The sequence has been known for centuries with it first showing up in Indian mathematics perhaps as early as 450 B.C. It wasn’t until 1202 when the sequence was first introduced to the Western world in the book, Liber Abaci, by mathematician Leonardo Pisano Bogollo, also known by his nickname Fibonacci, meaning “Son of Bonacci”.
The concept of the Fibonacci sequence is quite simple. Starting with the first two integers 0 and 1, add them together and the answer is 1, with the first part of the sequence being 0, 1, 1…. Then add the second and third integer which is 2, thus the next step in the sequence 0, 1, 1, 2…. Add the third and fourth integer and the answer is 3, thus the sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3… and so on and so forth. The sequence looks like this:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233…
There are a number of reasons why the Fibonacci number is an oddity, one being its close relationship to another mathematical oddity known as the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio has significance to mathematician because of its frequent appearance in many geometrical shapes. The mathematical formula of the Golden Ratio is based on the division of a line into two parts with one part being a, and the other being b when a>b>0:
The Golden Ratio is the following formula:
(a + b)/a = a/b = ϕ when ϕ = (1 + √5)/2 = 1.618….
The Fibonacci sequence has an eerie relationship with the Golden Ratio in that substituting any two successive Fibonacci numbers (one after another) for a and b in the Golden Ratio formula, the number will always coming surprising close to ϕ or 1.618…, particularly as the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence get larger. For example,
144/89 = 1.6179775… or 233/144 = 1.6180555.. and so on.
Because the Fibonacci sequence along with the Golden Ratio has a significant presence in numerous geometrical patterns that are often found in nature, both have created a mythical aura to the point that some believe these mathematical curiosities have mystical or profound meanings.
Caesar had taught Haylie all about the Fibonacci sequence when they were younger. She remembered that each number in the sequence was calculated by adding the two previous numbers. Caesar and Haylie had used the patterns to build cool, spiral Lego structures back in the day, but she knew there lots of uses for math -everywhere from computer science to biology.-Crash Alive
Books in the Series by Order:
For the time being I am not going to list the most and least popular book of the series because the total number of ratings in Goodreads, Amazon (US & UK), and Library Thing add up to less than 100 which means statistically they don’t really have any meaning. So read the books and give a rating.
The man in seat 5A took a deep breath, fighting to calm his heart as it pounded through his cheap button down shirt.
Haylie Black: A 17-year old computer whiz and hacker
Caesar Black: Haylie’s older brother
Walter and Benjamin Sterling: Twin brothers and CEOs of a startup company known as Brux
John Crowne: Prime minister of the United Kingdom
Vector: Haylie’s online friend
Austin, TX; London, UK; Monte Rio, CA; New York City
A code that has never been broken.
A secret society with an unthinkable plan.
A hacker that has had enough.
The only comfort teenager Haylie Black knows is in the world of technology – coding late into the night, building cool gadgets, and occasionally breaking into places where she doesn’t belong. But Haylie’s world is turned upside down when she learns shocking news: her brother has vanished attempting to solve an Internet puzzle known as “Raven 2309.”
To find him, Haylie must enter an unknown world, circling the globe and uncovering the dangerous group behind Raven’s design, to outsmart a puzzle that has never been solved; the puzzle called “The Greatest Mystery on the Internet.”
Crash Alive is a next-generation thriller, featuring hacking techniques ripped from today’s headlines, real-world secret societies, and puzzles that will keep readers turning the next page, trying their best to stay one step ahead.
Looking for a review of Crash Alive? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.76 out of 5 stars based on 64 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.67 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.14 out of 5 stars based on 92 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings
Total Score 4.39 (Updated 8/6/18)
Listed #458 out of 553 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List
Listed #122 out of 165 on Goodreads Best Science Thrillers Book List
The man inside the coffin lay stiff as a board, his hands fanned out at his sides, fighting to remain still.
Haylie Black, Caesar Black, and Vector
An unknown hacker is attacking companies across the globe. He isn’t taking money, he’s collecting identities. Millions of them. And no one knows why.
Haylie Black, a now-infamous teenage hacker, is struggling to live a normal life. When a mysterious hacker known as the Endling emerges, she must use her skills to solve the enigma behind the man. As the hunt unfolds, she discovers secrets bigger than she ever imagined, and will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever.
Amazon Rating-US: 4.82 out of 5 stars based on 17 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: not rated
GoodReads Rating: 4.44 out of 5 stars based on 27 ratings
Library Thing Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.59 (Updated 8/6/18)