Long-time Venomites know Brian J. Noggle through his witty, often obscure, comments in the Snake Pit. Many of you probably read his Musings, too. But have you read his book?
Brian was kind enough to hook me up with a copy of his self-published novel, John Donnelly’s Gold. After it arrived it took me a couple of weeks to get over my sheer jealousy that someone I know had actually finished writing a novel since my manuscripts bore the hell out of me long before completion. Once I cracked Brian’s book open, I realized that self-publishing just might be the solution to overcoming writer’s block.
What I mean is this: Brian is no Lee Child, but anyone who’s familiar with Brian and his blog won’t find that surprising. Brian is, well, a bit geeky. And a bit techy. And a bit detail oriented. Come to think of it, he’s a lot like Robert Davies, web developer, one of the four main characters in this high-tech caper. So, while there was much in his book to appeal to a hardcore computer user, I found myself overwhelmed with some of the technical mumbo-jumbo at first.
Then I started getting into the story.
Take one somewhat anal-retentive web developer (Robert Davies), an uptight and repressed would-be novelist (Michele — one L — Isbert), a semi-mysoginistic slacker (Kevin Horton) and a bored, only slightly reformed hacker (Daryl Simon), who’ve all been fired from their IT jobs just as their benefits were going to vest. The firing decision was, of course, made by the company CEO… a man so showy he’d personally bought a bar of gold to display live on the company’s website as a sign of its affluence.
Doesn’t seem fair, does it? And that’s precisely what these four thought as they set out to right the wrongs done to them. From there, well, let me just say that in addition to being a pretty darned good writer, Brian did a brilliant job of making sure readers didn’t see the story’s turns and twists coming.
Is it perfect? No, and that’s why I pointed out it’s a self-published book. Brian has written a fun tale that combines plenty of adventure with a lot (sometimes too much) exposition about the technical steps involved in hacking a website with a live feed. Think: Ocean’s Eleven but replace Brad and George and all of their pals with four geeks, and you’ve got the idea.
Is it worth reading? You bet! Especially if you’ve ever been screwed over by a boss and wondered how, and if, you could get even.