Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blog Tour Book Review: Red Devil 4 by Eric C. Leuthardt

RedDevil 4
Author: Eric C. Leuthardt
Publication: Forge Books (February 4, 2014)

Description: RedDevil 4 is spine-tingling techno-thriller based on cutting edge research from surgeon and inventor Eric C. Leuthardt.

Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Hagan Maerici is on the verge of a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that could change the way we think about human consciousness. Obsessed with his job and struggling to save his marriage, Dr. Maerici is forced to put his life’s work on the line when a rash of brutal murders strikes St. Louis.

Edwin Krantz, an aging, technophobic detective, and his partner, Tara Dezner, are tasked with investigating the horrifying killings. Shockingly, the murders have all been committed by prominent citizens who have no obvious motives or history of violence. Seeking an explanation for the suspects’ strange behavior, Krantz and Denzer turn to Dr. Maerici, who believes that the answer lies within the killers’ brains themselves. Someone is introducing a glitch into the in-brain computer systems of the suspects—a virus that turns ordinary citizens into murderers. With time running out, this trio of unlikely allies must face a gauntlet of obstacles, both human and A.I., as they attempt to avert disaster.

My Thoughts: REDDEVIL 4 was an engaging science fiction thriller. It is 2053 and cell phones are obsolete. Everyone has a neuroprosthetic implant that connects people and allows them to access all manner of data. But that doesn't stop crime. Edwin Krantz and his partner Tara Dezner are called in on a case where multi-billionaire Dr. Marcus Devron has apparently killed his maid of 40 years in a particularly gruesome manner. Since Dr. Devron is also in medical distress, he is taken to the hospital.

Dr. Hagan Maerici is a neurosurgeon who is doing research for Dr. Devron. He is trying to make a self-aware artificial intelligence. His research is so compelling that he is withdrawing from everyone including his wife. When Dr. Devron arrives, Dr. Maerici and his team examine him and finds some anomalies. Before he can figure out what has happened, two more cases are found. A florist has killed his partner of many years and a drug lord has killed his lawyer. All of them have in common that they were very wealthy and were all patients of Dr. Maerici. They also have in common that one part of their brain has disassociated with the rest of their brain.

Maerici, Krantz and Dezner need to work quickly to find out what has gone wrong with these three and to stop the problem from becoming an epidemic.

Despite the dense science in this one, the characters were well-rounded and sympathetic. Dr. Maerici is especially well-drawn as we see him torn between his failing marriage and his near success with creating an independent artificial intelligence. We see him getting pressure from his boss to produce results and we see him guiding his group of residents and medical students.

Krantz and Dezner were also well-developed. Krantz is a widower and a sort of technophobe who hasn't updated his neuroprosthetic but who has well-developed people sense that helps him in his investigations. Dezner is a former Navy SEAL who is totally up-to-date on both the technology of the time and the theory behind it. She is also alone because her dedication to her duty has cost her her marriage. She finds in Maerici a person a lot like her.

I mentioned the dense science. There was an awful lot about the workings of the human brain that made perfect sense as I was reading it but I couldn't repeat now to save my life. The science was integrated quite seamlessly that it didn't slow down the pace of the story.

I recommend this thriller to fans of mysteries and science fiction.

Favorite Quote:
Holding his sensor, Smyth tapped his assistant on the shoulder. "Metabolic suppression complete. Patient is now in suspended animation. Let's get her wrapped up." The other medics, with meticulous plastic-covered hands, repositioned the victim's viscera on top her her and began to wrap the same sheer material around her as they did with Devron. Obese and eviscerated, the procedure wasn't graceful or efficient. To Krantz, it looked like they were making a burrito out of a pasta dish. He felt nauseous.
I received a finished copy of this book for review and as part of the blog tour. You can buy your copy here.

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