Going Zero by Anthony McCarten

I am of two minds with this book. The story is a fascinating and propulsive thriller, but the editing in the first half of the book is abysmal. I learned about this book from a blog post. The blogger read and recommended it. The premise is right up my ally, so I got it from by library and started reading.

The story is about a beta test run by a company called Fusion who have partnered with the CIA. Together they have developed a program that is designed to track down any individual no matter how much they try to hide. The book begins as the test starts. There are ten people selected from those who applied. They each have thirty days to “go zero” and avoid capture. If they succeed, they win three million dollars. While the book follows each of the ten, one of them in particular is the focus. She is a librarian who no one expects much from. But she is much more than she seems.

As I said, this a great thriller. The author is a Hollywood screenwriter, and the book has the feel of a blockbuster summer movie. Unfortunately, there were times where editing mistakes just yanked me right out of the story. Here is one example. A character is crossing Lake Ontario from Oswego, NY to Canada. The book explains that a helicopter out of Buffalo is crossing Lake Michigan on its way to intercept. But Lake Michigan is far west of Buffalo on the other side of Michigan, in the opposite direction. Then later the same helicopter is said to be out of Detroit.

Aside from these unfortunate interruptions, the book is fantastic. It explores ideas around privacy, relationships, doing the right thing, and the corruption of power. And all of this in a page turner with twists throughout it. Without the errors, this would be five stars from me.

My rating: 4/5

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