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By Paul J. Bartusiak
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
The unique and intriguing premise of Paul J. Bartusiak's new novel -- that the US military decides for the first time in its history to design a vehicle through open "crowdsourced" input from the general public -- ensures that this book is at least a little better than the typical Tom-Clancy-ripoff technothriller; but make no mistake, this is still a Tom-Clancy-ripoff technothriller, even down to the central event propelling its plot being almost exactly the same as The Hunt for Red October. (In a nutshell, a Russian uses the contest in an attempt to pass along military secrets while defecting, but passes along the secrets in a sly way that most of the Americans don't catch onto, except for one brilliant analyst withering away at a desk job within the defense department.) Featuring nearly every cliché ever even invented in the military technothriller genre -- from the world-weary top brass to the sexy but tough-as-nails female scientist, the crude and jokey junior agents and a lot more -- this will try the patience of most general audience members, although I suspect that this will go down just fine with hardcore technothriller fans who burn through a novel like this every week. It comes with a limited recommendation today, only to such fans.
Out of 10: 7.1