“Quantum Synapse” is the kind of book I love. It’s set in the future (figure it’s the 2040s, a century after computers were invented) but not in a dystopian future where the landscape is unrecognizable. Here, the action takes place largely on the West Coast, with familiar landmarks from California to Washington state, and the only thing that will really stands out from today are the super soldiers Veritas and his ally Milo.
Veritas, the aptly named protagonist, is a soldier with “hyper-attenuated hearing,” bones “ten times harder than normal,” and a “chip brain booster” that makes him faster, stronger and more durable than mere mortals. How fast? Faster than a speeding bullet, which is where the book bends the laws of physics and dips into sci-fi territory. But that’s OK, because author Russell Blake throws in a love interest (Selena) and a fast-paced plot that checks all the boxes: plenty of military-style clashes, ominous helicopters, a government conspiracy, sinister plans that threaten mankind and a hero who faces the added challenge of having a wiped memory.
Blake shows off his best-seller chops not by flashing his prose but keeping it restrained, writing simple, crisp sentences that propel the action forward. Some of the historic allusions seem forced (there are long passages that explain how secret societies and cabals have been one step ahead of the rest of the population for thousands of years), but those are offset by the many sly asides, like this:
“[H]is thumbs worked madly as he texted – a retro habit that was in fashion with the young, who eschewed voice-to-text in favor of old-fashioned messaging.”
But it’s the action scenes that will leave your pulse pounding in Blake’s trademark fashion. For Blake’s first end-to-end technothriller, he keeps the focus where it should be: on the thrills rather than the tech. “Quantum Synapse” is a winner.