B.A. –Economics and Film, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Thriller Sub-genre: Crime/Financial/Techno-thriller
Future of the series: The latest installment of the series entitled Terror Machine was released on 12/15/19.
The Simon Review
Indie author Denison Hatch is about to release his first novel, Flash Crash, and the beginning of a series known as the Jake Rivett series. Flash Crash is an algorithm written by David Belov, a computer programmer that works for mega-bank Montgomery Noyes. The Flash Crash program is designed to manipulate the global value of gold on the stock market into a downward spiral and is the beginning of what would be the biggest gold robbery in history. Belov didn’t voluntarily write the program but was coerced into it by an unknown source that had kidnapped his young son and wife. The kidnapping would only be the beginning of Belov’s troubles, as he soon becomes the leading suspect in the gold heist.
There are three main characters in Flash Crash that Hatch spends considerable effort in developing which is unusual in a thriller. Of course, there is David Belov who we learn was the nerdy kid in school that didn’t have many friends with the exception of a mismatched friendship with the class bully Vladimir “Vlad” Zhadanov, who also has a significant role in Flash Crash. Much of the plot of Flash Crash revolves around the friendship and interactions between Belov and Zhadanov. Then there is Jake Rivett, the investigating police officer in charge of the Flash Crash gold heist. Rivett is a nonconformist within the police force, with spiky blond hair and an extreme personality, who also highlights as a singer in a punk rock band and drives a motorcycle to the crime scene. His unconventional attire and behavior is accepting among his peers mainly because of his brilliance as a detective.
To be honest, I had a tough time warming up to these characters. For most of the novel, Belov appears to be the whipping boy for both Vlad and Montgomery Noyes, which left me with the feeling of little respect for this character. Then there is Rivett, who is to be the lead in this series, and like Zhadanov is also a bit of a bully with the exception that he is on the right side of the law. Even though he may be a good bully, he is a bully nonetheless and nobody likes bullies.
The pace of the story in the beginning is fast but slows down considerably with the characterization of Belov, Zhadanov, and Rivett, but picks up significantly for the last third of the book with what would be an exciting ending. My feelings for Belov did change at the end as he did redeem himself by not being quite the victim that he appeared to be through most of the novel. As for Rivett, the jury is still out on this character and I am curious to see how Hatch develops him for the rest of the series. Hatch puts considerable effort in the technological machinations of the gold heist and with a fun ending to the novel, Flash Crash proves to be a worthy read.
Flash Clash will be released on April 12 with the second in the series, Never Go Alone, to be released later this summer.
What about the science? Denison Hatch received his degree in Economics at Cornell University, and even though economics is considered a social science, it does, however, require a knowledge of mathematics as well as the use of technology, so I am sure that Hatch has a good understanding of the technology that he discusses.
The Technical Word in Review: BIOS– is an acronym for Basic Input/Output System and is the first software that runs when your computer is started. So while you are waiting for your computer to start up, BIOS is working away testing your computer for errors and then locating the computer’s operating system. Once it finds an operating system, it will then pass on control of the computer to the operating system via a small program known as a bootloader. Additionally, the BIOS provides a means for programs and the operating system to interact with the keyboard, monitor, printer and other devices. BIOS is built-in to the computer and is part of the motherboard which allows it to work independently from the hard disk or diskette drive.
The concept of the BIOS was invented by Gary Kildall in 1975. Originally the BIOS coding was part of Kildall’s operating system, CP/M, but as the operating system evolved Kildall felt it would be easier upgrading his operating system if BIOS is separated from its coding. BIOS could then be applied to any machine with any version of operating system.
The PIN hacker was about the size of a pack of cards, with two inputs and a power cord. One input entered the Blackberry device. The other attached to David’s computer, where he ran a command-and-control application. The first thing the PIN hacker did was circumvent the BIOS, the phone chip’s operating system.-Flash Crash
Smartphones don’t actually have a true BIOS but startup directly with a bootloader or boot code, however many will refer to this bootloader as being a BIOS which leads to a lot of confusion. The bootloader is very specific to the operating system on the phone created by its manufacturer. Without a BIOS on a smartphone, it is impossible to add on an operating system that is different from the one made by the manufacturer and any updates can be difficult if not impossible. A BIOS in a computer allows for easy updates as well the ability to load a different operating system, such as changing the operating system from WINDOWS 7 to WINDOWS 10.
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, Library Thing, and Barnes and Noble add up to less than 100 which means statistically they don’t really have any meaning. So read the books and give a rating.
Listed #475 out of 553 on Goodreads Best Technothrillers Ever Book List
Listed #130 out of 168 on Goodreads Best Science Thrillers Book List
David Belov was late for work.
David Belov: Computer programmer, or “quant” for mega-bank Montgomery Noyes
Jake Rivett: Investigating police officer
Vladimir “Vlad” Zhadanov: Belov’s childhood friend
Veronika Belov: David’s mother
Marina Belov: David’s wife
Mikey Belov: David’s son
New York City
David Belov, a quant programmer working for an investment bank in New York is blackmailed into writing an algorithm that will intentionally crash the gold market.
David discovers that his virtual “Flash Crash” was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that’s he’s been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance…
With Detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD’s finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future.
David opened his program’s command module. The name of the algorithm played across the computer screen:
David took a deep breath. His finger hung precariously in the air. Then he pressed enter. The program began to run.
Looking for a review of Flash Crash? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.31 out of 5 stars based on 66 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.60 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.21 out of 5 stars based on 82 ratings
Library Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings
Total Score 4.29 (updated 8/7/18)
Two feet hammered the pavement.
THE FIRST RULE IS: NEVER GO ALONE.
A rash of elaborate cat burglaries of luxury buildings in Manhattan has the city panicked.
“The first rule of urban exploration is…Never go alone.”
Looking for a review of Never Go Alone? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.30 out of 5 stars based on 20 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 4 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars based on 26 ratings
Library Rating: not rated
Total Score 4.28 (updated 8/7/18)
The man in the truck knew he was going to die.
It all starts at Bryant Park. The Christmas market. A massive and devastating terror attack shakes Manhattan to its core. The terrorist responsible is a ghost and his cell fits no profile. But even worse than that, the joint task force—comprised of Jake Rivett, the Feds, and the NYPD’s Counterterror and Major Crimes Divisions—pull back the curtain on a science experiment like no other. It’s called the Terror Machine. The machine might not be perfect. But it works. The deadliest terror attack in New York since 9/11 proves that. But who’s going into the machine next? And more importantly, what will they do when they get out? The joint task force finds no answers—only questions.What do a discredited neurophysiologist from the leafy collegetown of Stony Brook, a slumlord religious scholar in Astoria, and a seventeen-year-old boy who loves to sneak out of the house in drag have in common? Rivett—newly engaged to the love of his life, Mona—will find out. But at what cost? Because in the end, no one really gets out of the Terror Machine.To finish this case, to destroy the cell, to save the city…Rivett will rage like he’s never raged before.
“Can’t sleep. Can barely eat. I’m nervous. Everything about the case bugs me. Hayat’s dead, but he has no past. Someone went to extremes to hide him from society. Then with the doctor, it’s the opposite. He’s too normal. Who owns a cell phone and never browses the the web? How does that happen? So is he a nothing, or is someone protecting him, too? Was Katinka right? Is the doctor creating some sort of terror machine? Is that what he’s all about, or is it a means to an end? And more importantly…where is he?”
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