“We Are 100” by Nathan Timmel

Modern technology is so far ahead of most of us, this book could almost be termed Sci-Fi. But basically, it’s a psychological thriller, exposing us to a deep understanding of what makes mass murderers and internet echo chambers work. We get a lot of rational, level-headed philosophy from serial killers, like “You can’t change the world but you can change yourself.” And then they go out and do something awful, but we can’t help cheering them on.

This is also a police procedural novel, but we are spared the usual soap opera of dysfunctional officers. There are good people on this FBI team, with good working relationships. No bitchiness and office politics. A bit of humorous banter once in a while serves to impress on us that these are real people with real friendships.

This is the kind of detective story where the opposition gets equal time. We see the inside of everyone’s head on both sides of the law. A dangerous writing technique, because usually if we don’t choose a side, then we don’t really feel the suspense. This story is so balanced that it’s difficult to decide whom we want to win. It’s a nice realistic twist; the criminal mastermind in the story is very careful to only attack people that the general public and the readers agree are evil, so we don’t get upset with him.

It’s like watching an exciting sports match between two excellent teams when you’re not a fan of either one, but the game is so good you stay to find out who wins and how.

As you might expect from this, the story is fairly heavy on the thematic side. We see a lot of pop philosophy painted with a broad brush, as in everything that is wrong with American society and politics. Questions like “How do you define evil?” and, “Are we really making a difference?” come up once in a while. Fortunately, this makes the characters more believable and likeable, so we don’t mind being side-tracked.

When I’m reviewing a book, I usually only skim it the second time through, looking for ideas and examples. For this novel, I read it through completely, and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

Highly recommended for fans of psychological thrillers and hi-tech police procedurals.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

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