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Daniel Suarez' Kill Decision Killed Me

The title's a bit dramatic, but I was having trouble coming up with a good pun or otherwise.

Hot on the heels of his Daemon and Freedom duology, Suarez cranked out this near-future, techno-thriller in 2012. Which I'm sure made a lot of sense given his success with the former. Unfortunately, it fails to live to up to the non-stop, dumb fun of his first couple of releases.

Where Daemon and Freedom found glee in speculation of near future tech changing the face of the planet, this one is dour to the core. Some shady operation is making drones that kill people autonomously. Some other shady operation sets out to stop them. It's hardly spoiling much to say they (at least partially) succeed in spectacular fashion through a series of larger-than-life set pieces involving copious gunfire and car/plane/drone/boat chases. There's no comedy to be found here, intentional or otherwise. D&F at least had the utter ridiculousness of its happenings to alleviate the constant severity. This one ain't got that.

The characters are as cliche as they come. Hyper-competent super secret agents, scientists, engineers, and shady business people. A couple of them even fall in love, though thankfully the sex is limited to a line of text: "They made love." I really wouldn't want Suarez to push his writing chops too far in that direction given his proclivity for over-the-top action and technological exposition. Both of which are here in quantity.

Overall, I wouldn't call it a bad book. Just an entirely predictable, fairly mediocre one. It comes in pretty short around 300 pages or so I'd imagine if I had a hard copy. The technological stuff is dry, plausible, and not poorly written if you're into that. The action is well done, if somewhat less plausible, and keeps things moving.

3/5 autonomous killer drones