Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez
Read by Jeff Gurner
Length: 13 Hrs 6 Min
Quick Thoughts: Kill Decision is a fast paced, explody orgiastic techno adventure full of over the top action, colorful characters and a twisty conspiracy laden plot that will keep the reader’s head spinning. Suarez takes current technology and pushes it out to frightening extremes, which gives the sometimes outrageous plot just enough validity to make you uncomfortable. Kill Decision is the ultimate summer read, an exciting thriller that feels like a big budget action movie for your brain.
As if there aren’t enough things that will one day kill me, Daniel Suarez has to add a new one to the list. Sometimes, I feel there is this evil cabal of genre authors who sit around in the mysterious smoky castle, or perhaps a local coffee shop, with the sole purpose of thinking up new monsters, technology or diseases that may very well end my existence. I have become used to the idea that someday a zombie may feast on my delicious brain, or the government which we all have such faith in will release a killer plague wiping out over 99% of the population. I can deal with a Robopocalypse or Emo-Vampires sucking my blood and forcing me to listen to Death Cab for Cuties until my ears bleed and my brain hemorrhages. Yet, now I can’t even walk my dog or orchestrate a global conspiracy to destabilize the European Futures market without worrying about whether or not some unmanned drones programmed to emulate warlike soldier ants will swoop down and kill me. I mean, sure, robots may rise and destroy humanity, and even the smart Artificial intelligent houses of the future may take us captive and enslave us to their will, but at least these were things I could see happening in the future, when I am old and have finally seen all 10 of The Hobbit movies. Yet, Suarez’s killer drones are topical and current and may be circling over my tin foil lined brain as we speak.
In Kill Decision, the latest techno-thriller by Daniel Suarez, Odin, the head of a top secret military Special Ops team, is tasked with finding the truth behind a series of unmanned drone attacks on the United States. When the shadowy group behind the drones targets Linda McKinney, a scientist studying the behavior of Weaver Ants, Odin must find out why she was targeted, and what the implications are for the world, and the way we fight wars. Kill Decision is a fast paced, explody orgiastic techno adventure full of over the top action, colorful characters and a twisty conspiracy laden plot that will keep the reader’s head spinning. Suarez takes current technology and pushes it out to frightening extremes, which gives the sometimes outrageous plot just enough validity to make you uncomfortable. On top of the crazy, breakneck plotting, Suarez fills out the tale with plenty of quirky characters, developed well enough to make you fear for their safety when the danger comes. Oh, and the danger comes, at time relentlessly and without mercy. Kill Decision wasn’t problem free. At times, the plot truly pushes the boundaries of credulity, but in fun exciting ways. You are having so much fun while experiencing Kill Decision that you are willing to let a few inconsistencies slip past. My major issue with the book was in the character of Linda McKinney. I liked her. She had a kick butt nature, and was the heart of the story. She also was infuriating at times. There were points where Suarez turned her into a shrieking liberal. Now, I had no problem with the politics in the story, either the author’s or the characters. I didn’t feel there was any pressing agenda. What I didn’t like was the fact that her political arguments with Odin transferred her from a well developed strong female lead to a caricature. There was also a bit of naiveté to the character that I felt was placed there more to serve the plot than a true reflection of the character as I had visualized her. Yet, this one issue wasn’t enough to derail an otherwise entertaining novel. Kill Decision is one of those novels that makes you want to pull out all the well worn reviewing clichés, using terms like rollicking fun, thrills and spills and rollercoaster ride. Kill Decision is the ultimate summer read, an exciting thriller that feels like a big budget action movie for your brain.
Jeff Gurner gives an excellent performance in his reading of Kill Decision. Gurner read Suarez’s previous thrillers Daemon and Freedom TM, and was ready for the fast paced, non stop action of Kill Decision. Gurner does a solid job with the characterizations but his true talent is pacing the many action scenes in just the right way. When listening to an audiobook, action can sometimes get muddled if the pacing is off, but in Kill Decision this was never a problem. Gurner’s reading allowed the listener to easily visualize the complex action scenes. Now, like The Daemon novels, Penguin used some strange FX’s for the chapter breaks. These didn’t really interfere with the overall tale, but they were sort of weird here. It was supposed to have an almost robotic sound, but it in fact sounded a bit like someone hocking something up. This doesn’t in anyway affect the production, I just thought it was sort of strange, and thus worth mentioning. Kill Decision was another excellent pairing of Suarez and Gurner, and the thriller to watch out for this summer.