four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
39-Mar-Apr-2009
user_rating: 
0

A-DaemonDaniel Suarez is a systems consultant and software designer by trade. In 2006, Suarez, unable to sell his manuscript, self-published the book. After being touted by such sites as craigslist and FeedBurner, his novel was picked up by Dutton. The book’s got the buzz.

The Story: When video game designer Matthew Sobol dies of brain cancer at 34, the online posting of his obituary activates a deviously constructed "daemon," a program that runs behind the scenes and wreaks havoc on computer networks around the world. The daemon recruits a brilliant hacker and an escaped inmate, among others, to complete its task, as Sobol, living on through his most ingenious creation, seeks to level the playing field and to install a new world order. Fighting an uphill battle to stop Sobol and his daemon are Detective Peter Sebeck, computer consultant Jon Ross, and a cast of characters seemingly overmatched by their adversary. As Sebeck puts it in what could be a mantra for a new age, "Technology was like a religion—you either had the faith or you didn’t."
Dutton. 448 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0525951113

Crime Critics 5 of 5 Stars
"If [Neal] Stephenson’s Diamond Age is a glimpse of our world 200 years from now, Suarez is the more-germane prophet of a literal tomorrow. … [Daemon] isn’t just a great book; it is an important book." Professor Plum

Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars
"With no disrespect to the late Michael Crichton, Daniel Suarez’s techno-nightmare, Daemon, illustrates what I call Crichton’s Law: Some ideas are so good that nobody can mess them up. Mr. Suarez demonstrates, as Mr. Crichton did in novels such as Jurassic Park, Congo and Timeline, that a novel blessed with a fiendishly clever central plot device will survive any number of stylistic clunkers and cardboard-cutout characters." Chris Tucker

fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com 4 of 5 Stars
"The weaknesses of the book are mostly ones associated with the genre—character development is limited, the ‘hackers running the world’ concept is one-dimensional, and there’s a lack of external depth—but we do not read thrillers for those missing qualities. The action is fast, the toys are cool, the book’s style is smooth, many lines are funny, and there is also some serious symbolism throughout the novel." Liviu C. Suciu

St. Petersburg Times 4 of 5 Stars
"[The] author raises the stakes to catastrophic levels, penetrating the shady world of cyberterrorism to reveal a chilling yet entirely plausible scenario of technology gone awry. … Originally self-published in 2006, Daemon should now reach a much larger audience, and deservedly so." Eric Liebetrau

Critical Summary

For now, Daniel Suarez will have to be content with the inevitable comparisons to Michael Crichton and Neal Stephenson; in the publishing world, there are certainly worse fates. To be sure, Suarez’s ability in Daemon to push all the right buttons regarding technology and its potential for misuse suggests a writer with a bright future. If word-of-mouth publicity is any indication (there’s already strong demand for the sequel, which is due in 2010), the rigors of self-publishing are already a distant memory for Suarez. Daemon is genre fiction meant to be devoured, not savored. "Henry James fans may shudder," the Dallas Morning News points out, "but the result is an almost perfect guilty-pleasure novel that passes briefly through a pulp-bound larval stage before morphing into the Big Action Movie it was meant to be."