Series: Buchanan-Renard #13
Published by: Berkley Trade on July 4, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Allison Trent has always had a special talent for computers. When she’s not cleaning up after her troublemaker younger brother, Jason, she spends her days writing code and navigating the intricacies of the Internet. In fact, she’s working on a new program that will revolutionize the tech industry, and when she attends a prominent seminar, word begins to spread.
FBI agent Liam Scott discovers how brilliant Allison is and wants her to help hunt down a cyber criminal he’s been after for two years. He invites her to tour the bureau’s state-of-the-art cybercenter in Boston. Once she arrives, he thinks he can convince her to join the team.
But Allison doesn’t want to work for the government—until Liam makes an offer she can’t refuse: work for the FBI for one year, and they will expunge Jason’s illustrious criminal record.
Allison tries to deny her growing attraction to Liam, but just before her year in the FBI is over, she discovers someone has stolen the computer program she developed. Now she needs Liam’s help in tracking down the thief. And as they begin to close in on the culprit, they also begin to give in to each other...
Despite being part of a series, Wired can be read as a standalone.
Man, this book was a huge letdown for me. I had high hopes since I’m a coder and I thought a coding/FBI/romance/thriller book just sounded AMAZING. But it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. 🙁
It sounded like it was written someone who didn’t know code
I don’t expect all authors to be experts in what they write about, but a certain amount of research would be nice. To be blunt, I felt like the author just threw around the same words over and over again and hoped that would be good enough for a book about a “coder”. They all sounded like this though:
“she and Jordan had plenty of time to sit and talk about languages and codes, and writing programs, and bugs, and hackers.”
We never got any details into what they were actually talking about. Just, “Oh then we talked about codes and bugs and hackers.” Those same phrases were all that were repeated over and over again.
- Something about that word and “codes” (plural) felt really unnatural. I’ve just never heard coders talk like that.
- This was literally the extent of the coding and technical stuff in the book. Even when the character was doing actual coding there still weren’t any other technical descriptions or explanations of how things got done. It was just, “I threw on my headphones, hunched over my laptop, and chased the puzzle.” The author could have at least thrown in ever-so-slightly more advanced technical words like “SQL injection” or “traceroute”. It didn’t feel like it was beta read by anyone technical at all.
And here’s another quote:
“there are some people who have sold various bugs and viruses for a lot of money.”
You can’t “sell a bug”. You can sell knowledge of a bug (or exploit), but you wouldn’t sell the bug itself. It doesn’t really make sense.
I saw zero chemistry in the romance
The romance was a huge part of the book. In fact, given the lack of depth in the coding part, the romance was arguably the whole point of the story. So it was a huge bummer that I didn’t connect with it AT ALL.
I just couldn’t see any chemistry there. From my perspective, there was nothing drawing the characters together. Honestly I started skimming through the romancey bits.
Plus, it turned into major insta-love. View Spoiler » [Allison and the love interest didn’t really spend all that much time together. In fact, Allison spend half the book complaining that Liam was never there and never calling or texting her. Even when they were together, a lot of the time was purely businessy stuff. Then, in the last 5% of the book, Liam comes back after an absence, rescues Allison, then tells her he quit his job because he wants to marry her, and they literally sit there talking about what they’ll do when they’re “old and gray”. WHAT??? « Hide Spoiler]
The plot seemed unfocused
There were four major plot points:
- Finding a leak in the FBI.
- Dealing with a testy person in the FBI who’s upset about Allison finding said leak.
- Someone stealing Allison’s computer program.
- Allison dealing with her horrible family issues.
I don’t know if there were four big plot points to keep us guessing or what, but to me it just felt unfocused more than anything. My brain didn’t know which event to focus on or which was supposed to be the main part of the story (and View Spoiler » [#2 ended up being pretty pointless if you ask me « Hide Spoiler] ).
Parts of the plot were actually quite fun to read, despite the lack of actual technical stuff. I do think there was some potential there, but it could have been much stronger and more interesting if they just picked ONE (two tops) event and really focused in on it.
The format was kind of jarring
The book has two main points of view:
But there aren’t neatly organized chapters where it switches between the two. Nope. Instead, it just switches randomly from paragraph to paragraph. I hate this format in general; I prefer neatly organized chapters that swap back and forth. But it was made even worse in this case because the voices between the two characters weren’t distinct at all. The book often switched points of view and I didn’t even realize, then I’d get confused and have to backtrack a little to find out when it switched.
Also, the book sticks to those two points of view for 90% of the story, then randomly switches to a different character’s point of view for like one useless page. That REALLY confused me. I had to reread the first paragraph of that chapter like three times before my brain realized what had happened and who’s point of view I was reading from. Then it did this again with a different character a few chapters later. I thought these two chapters were unnecessary and just made the book weirdly inconsistent.
After all that, two stars probably feels like a generous rating… and maybe it is. But to be honest, until the last 10% of the book I did kind of enjoy reading Wired. I was unsatisfied with it—sure—but I was actually fully intending to give it three stars until the ending. Allison became View Spoiler » [annoyingly sympathetic to EVERYONE who did horrible things. “Oh I feel so awful for my cousin who keeps beating people up and robbing stores. I really want to keep him out of prison.” and “That poor guy who stole my computer program and tried to sell it and then held me at gunpoint. I feel bad for him because he’s in with some bad people now.” Maybe I’m just not that nice of a person, but damn… Allison was way too nice to people who didn’t deserve it. At least Liam kept calling her out on that. « Hide Spoiler] Then there was that whole ridiculous thing with View Spoiler » [Allison and Liam deciding to get married at the end… totally randomly. « Hide Spoiler]
So much potential in the plot, but turns out it wasn’t for me… *sigh*