Review: "Daemon" by Daniel Suarez

Daemon by Daniel SuarezBillionaire computer software mogul Matthew Sobol has died and he wants to make sure he leaves behind a legacy.  That legacy comes in the form of a daemon, or a computer programing running in the background of every system that has installed his massively popular on-line, multi-player video game.  When news of Sobol's death hits the Internet, the daemon becomes active, creating havoc across the world as it exploits vulnerabilities in computer networks and uses them for its own purposes.

Daniel Suarez's first novel "Daemon" is a fascinating, compelling and, at times, downright scary story of just how open to attack and manipulation many of our computer networks are.  It may be one thing to think about hackers taking advantage gaps in the security to get free wi-fi Internet access, but it's entirely another to see a home security system run amok, intent on killing anyone who tries to approach Sobol's home and to disable it.  Or seeing how easily the system can manipulate multiple networks to reduce the sentence of a hardened criminal from maximum security prison to a low-security facility and eventually set free in order to facilitate the next step in the daemon's plan.

The story of how Suarez's novel went from a self-published story to a major book contract and potential movie deal is one that will give hope to every aspiring writer out there.  Suarez got his book into the hands of a target audience and created a buzz for himself that it was impossible for a conventional publisher to ignore.   But the thing is--if "Daemon" weren't a good book, no one would be talking about it.  And "Daemon" is that good.

This is not a book to pick up at bedtime and think you're going to read a few pages before you head to sleep.  "Daemon" is the kind of book that you find yourself lulled into, thinking you're only reading a few pages and spending a few minutes caught up in this high-tech, scary and all to close to real world, only to find you've read half the book, its 2 a.m. and you've got to be at work in a few hours.  And you still find yourself regretting having to put the book aside.  "Daemon" is smart, fresh and reminded me a lot of the early intensity of Tom Clancy novels.  Suarez clearly knows and understands his technology but is able to translate that into the story without it feeling like he's bringing the plotline to a halt for an infodump. 

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it was over too soon and left me wanting more.  Suarez has promised a sequel and the book comes to a conclusion that effectively wraps up the story for this book but leaves open a lot of doors for a sequel.  It's a sequel that I will be waiting impatiently for at my local bookstore.

Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Published by: Dutton Adult (January 8, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0525951113

ISBN-13: 978-0525951117
Genre: Techno Thrillers