Devil's Plaything
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Devil's Plaything

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  273 ratings  ·  51 reviews
We all keep secrets, but what if someone wasn't just stealing our secrets but changing them . . . and our brains?

Journalist Nat Idle is nearly gunned down in Golden Gate Park. He quickly learns it was no random attack. Suddenly, in pursuit of the truth, he's running for his life through the shadows of Silicon Valley, a human lab animal caught in a deadly maze of neurotechn...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published May 3rd 2011)
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Richard Gazala
Matt Richtel, author of the superb novel "Devil's Plaything," is a Pulitzer Prize-winning technology reporter for the New York Times. "Devil's Plaything" is far and away among the very best thrillers released this year. It's timely, insightful, and disturbingly prescient.

San Francisco in present-day late October is the setting for a breakneck plot twisting around attempts to hijack an elderly woman's memories under the auspices of a seemingly benign government-sponsored endeavor called the Human...more
Richard
This is mildly amusing, but sadly informative. I finished Matt Richtel's "Devil's Plaything" recently and just came here to Goodreads to review it, and was somewhat surprised to see I'd previously given three stars to the author's The Cloud.

The reason I find my surprise informative is that both stories are set in San Francisco, both feature the same protagonist, and I read the other book less than a year ago, but I simply couldn't recall it until I'd read enough other reviews that I rebuilt a se...more
Denise
3.0 out of 5 stars Step away from your computer!
This was an OK thriller that has to do with the bad guys using computer technology to secretly mess with peoples' brains and their memories. But why? The main character, a medical blog writer and former doctor named Nat Idle, and his grandmother Lane are running around San Francisco trying to figure out why her dementia is progressing so rapidly and what memories of hers have been tampered with or altered. Nat is detracted from solving the mystery...more
Katy
Jul 07, 2011 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of thrillers, suspense, and/or medical/technological thrillers/suspense
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon.com Vine program
Shelves: vine-book
“The number of people suffering acute memory loss is doubling every fifteen years. Shipments of computer memory are doubling every two years. Are these two statistics related? More than you dare imagine.” This quote begins “Devil’s Plaything,” a medico-technological thriller that will make you hesitate to continue your use of computers and cell phones.

Nat Idle writes blogs for MediBlog, a medical news and information site described by Pauline (Polly) Sanchez, its owner, as “the medical news-cent...more
Maria
I have to tell you - this book was amazing! From the very first page, when you realize that someone is talking to an artificially intelligent computer, you are hooked into the story line completely. And whereas with most mysteries, you can kind of figure out what's going to happen in the end, the questions in this novel don't end until the very last page.

Here's the basic premise: we know that our main character's grandmother is living in a nursing home where she has been asked to record all of h...more
Kiara
This book was so very unpredictable--in a good way of course-- It threw you around and made you fall for just about every loop hole until you were almost 100% convinced that you knew what would happen. This was beyond entertain-able :)
The main character Nathaniel Idle was not you typical hero (indestructible and unable to hurt, supper human et cetera) which was all the more enjoyable.
The only complaint I would have is the tittle. At first glance I thought the book was going to be about something...more
Kam Alexander
Great book! I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning with this one, and that's exactly what I like to see in a book. The only problem I had with it was a little bit of the wording confused me, (but hey, I don't blame the author for that its probably just me) and the ending of the book gave me a sense of unfulfilled wishes for the story line. I guess maybe a lack of closure is what I'm getting at here, but other than that, it was truly a great book. I would recommend this to all peopl...more
Bookmom
Nate Idle had gone through med school but found the idea of being a doctor too stifling for his adventurous spirit. He’d dropped out and currently works for a medical blog site but his real passion is uncovering the bigger medical stories. He’s close to his grandmother whose dementia is getting worse at a rapid rate that surprisingly isn’t affecting her physical abilities. The two are shot at when he takes her for an outing at Gold Gate Park, followed by a phone call from the attacker telling hi...more
Matthew
I picked this book up because it was the iBookstore pick of the week and I hoped I'd be introduced to a new author whom I'd enjoy.
I don't think Matt Richtel and I started off on the right foot, though. I just couldn't get comfortable with Nat Idle, his main character. He seemed like a real douche bag, very smarter than thou, standoff-ish, not terribly interesting. And he was meant to carry the entire book. You were supposed to be rooting for him, but between him basically just being a piece of d...more
Lauren
Whoever did the outside covers of this book should really have not been allowed to do so. I initially borrowed this book because between the name, the quotes on the back cover, and the description it seemed so incredibly stupid I thought it would be an absolute riot to read.

This is actually an entertaining book. I read it all in one sitting as the plot did pull me in. I thought it was a little unbelievable, to the point where I wasn't sure if the main character wasn't actually a complete nut. S...more
Robert Cherny
A review of “Devil’s Plaything” by Matt Richtel

I received an advance reviewer copy from another reviewer who is in my writer’s group.

“Devil’s Plaything” offers an interesting, if somewhat flawed, reading. The basic concept, having to do with the relationship between the minds of computer users and the computers they relate to, is thought provoking and serves as an appropriate warning for our time.

The character of the protagonist is well drawn with an exceptional level of depth. The remainder of...more
Cathy Cole
First Line: My big toe is exposed and my companion lost in the world beyond.

Nat Idle is a freelance writer spending most of his time writing blog posts with medical angles. He's got more on his mind than his next post, however. His beloved grandmother, Lane, now in a nursing home, has been having problems with her memory, but those problems have been snowballing. Nat doesn't want to accept the inevitable, and he vows to spend more time with her. He's in Golden Gate Park when he makes that promis...more
Mario
This is a tough book to review. I really liked the first two thirds or so; if you took away the sci-fi elements and replaced the computer transcriptions with more lengthy flashbacks, it would be a really great, touching novel about a grandmother and grandson -- one slowly losing herself and the other not willing to accept it -- deep parallels and whatnot. I would have really enjoyed that book, I think.

Add the sci-fi elements back in, and it becomes a kind of standard, slightly boring, slightly p...more
Angie
This is an enjoyable, fast, fun read. The main character, Nate, is pretty easy to identify with and the dialog doesn't feel stilted or weird, which is a common problem it seems like. It sometimes meanders and sometimes skips here and there, but overall it's a good brain candy book.
Claire
I liked this book. I didn't LOVE it, but I liked it. The story was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end, but it lacked something. I don't know what. Maybe depth? It seemed like everything was there on the page right there where you could see it. It's hard to explain... Maybe there wasn't enough action?

Some of the clues Nat Idle found throughout the book seemed contrived and coincidental. He finds some obscure word written on a peice of paper in a book, then in the next scene it ends...more
Kathryn Sabellico
Good read--- liked it and the writing was great - fast paced and humorous and kept my interest. Story of a writer and his grandma about memory and technology. Highly recommend it!
Anica
This is my kind of thriller. First, it stars a journalist who may be onto a huge conspiracy, or may be warped and paranoid by his profession. Second, that conspiracy is something that could affect ME, because it involves excessive use of the Internet. Third, the science is just real enough to make it plausible. And, to top it all off, it's set in my 2 favorite cities -- San Francisco and Denver! And... one of the main characters gives up on her book club, after getting stuck on "A Confederacy of...more
Katrin
Decent airplane reading...intriguing premise of a grandmother with dementia whose brain holds an important secret.
K
Monika
The San Francisco setting may be the best part of this book for me. The author clearly knows the city and waxes poetic about it in a way that locals will love. The story is a suspenseful walk through a mystery, but nothing truly grabbed me. It all wraps up, as usual in all but the best thrillers, very conveniently and a little too quickly in the end. The characters aren't as developed as they could be, and the title gives you a very different feel than what you'll find. The attempt at bringing m...more
Jeff Wetherington
This is an excellent story with an interesting plot and a variety of well-rounded characters. If you have the chance to read this book don't pass it by.
Marilyn
Interesting mix of medical, technology, and grandma. Fun reading.
Medical journalist Nate Idle has stumbled onto an extraordinary conspiracy and the ultimate mind game. Suddenly, in pursuit of the truth, he's running for his life through the shadows of Silicon Valley, a human lab animal caught in a deadly maze of neurotechnology and institutional paranoia. And his survival rests entirely in the hands of his eighty-five-year old grandmother, Lane, who’s suffering from dementia, and can't remembe...more
David Pennington
In Devil’s Plaything, Matt Richtel masterfully combines suspense with deep-rooted family history. The plot reveals profound possibilities based on real scientific studies, and is paced in such a way that urges the reader to keep reading. Even with great books, I often forget the characters and specifics shortly after finishing the book--not so with this one. Devil’s Plaything serves as a model of the kind of writer I’d like to be. Matt Richtel’s got me hooked (pun intended—-his first book is tit...more
Mick
Nat Idle and his grandmother were close to being gunned down in Golden State Park. Then Nat relentlessly pursues a maze of connected leads in neurotechnology that he determines has led to the sudden increase in his grandmother's dementia. Both of them have to survive to tell this believable story full of server farms and institutional paranoia.

Matt Richtel has given us an incredible scenario that is smart, interesting and very unique in pushing the envelope in a brilliant thriller.
Todd Mayville
Devil’s Plaything, the newest offering from journalist and author Matt Richtel, makes a strong case for unplugging and remaining mindful in our relationships with ourselves and others, and both the premise and the science of the novel, which is both accurate and well-presented, argue nicely against the multi-tasking of which so many people are proud. For the rest: http://tometraveling.blogspot.com/201...
Mark
I ran out of patience.

A third of the way through the novel, the author has this reader as confused as his protagonist's Alzheimer’s afflicted mother. I’m tired of clues doled out within a tedium of disjointed rambling. Someone is trying to kill them both, but not very hard. I’m bored with no confidence the story will ever gain momentum. Ready to bail out, I’m not even interested enough to skip to the end.
Ahmed Elshamy
I do n't know but at the beginning the book was okay but as i moved on it got really boring -a lot of scientific information- and i started reading every two weeks or something once and thank god i finally finished that book
The story itself isn't bad though and it got a moral that computers are dangerous in such a way to health but the scientific information was way too much
Craig Leimkuehler
Frankly the book did not deliver as well as I had hoped. I liked the basic approach of using the grandmother as the focal point of the story. Through my girlfriend's mother I know first hand the drama of a loved one slowly losing their grip on reality. You will go to any means possible to stop and or reverse it. All the while wondering if it will happen to you.

Joeydag
I'd read "Hooked" by the same author before this and I guess this a series. The character, Nat Idle, is a blogger living in SF with computer overuse is an issue in both novels. This book was published in 2011 but there is a reference to the character getting a blackberry and it seem so dated! We'll see if I read another by this author.
Beth
I found this book as a free download and read it on my phone in about 3 days. It is a terrific example of a fun summer beach read. A fast paced mystery told with a wry comedic voice. Certainly it's not literature, but a great escape!
Jo
Dec 18, 2013 Jo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: on-nook
Very cleverly done.
While trying to find out his Grandma's secret the main character uncovers a more sinister secret.
I read this in 2 days because I couldn't put it down.
Highly, highly recommended for any mystery fans
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