Special Agent Alexandra Cassidy has made a career of disobeying orders, challenging bigwigs, and asking uncomfortable questions.
What offends her superiors most is that her intolerable antics have earned her one of the best track records in the FBI.
It’s too bad, some cases are better left unsolved.
When Cassidy is transferred to the backwaters of Arizona she finds herself leading a crew with so many black marks on their records, it’s a miracle any of them remain employed.
Thankfully, their first case pretty much solves itself. But as Cassidy and her team continue throwing bad guys behind bars, a creeping sense of suspicion grows. The cases are easy, a little too easy, and troubling patterns become impossible to ignore.
Then things take a violent turn, and an elusive figure steps forward to help. But in a conspiracy big enough to topple kings, every player has an agenda— and misplaced trust will have devastating consequences.
Besides being a technogeek and avid watcher of TV procedurals, Mark loves writing and surfing the net in his hunger and thirst for knowledge and information on an esoteric array of subjects from technology, science fiction, politics and TV/films. Happily married with two sons, Mark’s enjoyed a long and distinguished career in IT. He loves dreaming up complicated plots, playing back each scene over and over in his head before placing fingers on his keyboard.
After romance, the second most loved genre would be a detective/crime thriller. In the last 6-7 weeks of lockdown, I have devoured a couple of such books. I was out of said genre book when a friend from the publishing industry sent me the blurb of "the Tech by Mark Ravine". I instantly got a liking for the book. I accepted the book in exchange for an honest review. I am glad that I accepted it, because it landed on my list of this year's favorite.
The story goes something like this. An FBI officer Alexandra, our protagonist, recently shifted to her new office with a recently transferred team. Her first impression when she checked her subordinates' files was that her teammates were either looser or victims. Being a workaholic she joined the office the moment she landed in the city. She solved the first case within 24 hours even before she went to report her boss about her joining office. Surprisingly, various cases kept coming in front of her team. And each case connected with the previous one. Her team kept solving these cases, though Alexandra found their success clouted, as in each case there was some kind of hidden help to them from unknown tips or mishaps. There are more than 7-8 cases to keep the reader engaged. I don't want to reveal much to avoid giving away spoilers.
The book is lengthy, more than 450 pages. Well it is bound to be a lengthy one, because it covers so many cases and linking between these cases. Having said that, you will not find a single page with tempo going down. The author has maintained a speedy pace while maintaining interest quotient. If you want you may read one case per reading, that is how I have taken the book. While reading the book, I was visualizing that a series was playing in front of my eyes. The language used is simple, written for an audience of 14+. The characters who got the maximum stage were Alexandra, Mike, Gabriella, Nancy, AD Khan, Hollywood. Other side characters have also served their purpose.
The technologies shown around Mike & Aisha were far fetched but gave the feeling of sci-fi along with crime thriller. Another complaint was cover and title. I feel the book can have better cover and title to match its content.
First and foremost, a large thank you to Mark Ravine and Dawn Hill Publications for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
While author-peddled novels can be hit and miss for me, this debut thriller by Mark Ravine has all the ingredients for a stunning novel. Full of intrigue, mystery, and well-developed characters, this is one book that readers should give a second look, particularly those looking for a strong police procedural. Alexandra Cassidy has spent a number of years with the FBI, but does not seem able to curb her acerbic wit. When she is sent to Arizona to head-up a field office, Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Cassidy is unsure what to expect. Her team is composed of the riffraff within the Bureau, agents from all over the country in a similar position to her own. Not long after she arrives in the office, SSA Cassidy is sent to join her team at the scene of a bank robbery. While things went down quickly, a clue leads the team to the assailants with ease. This is soon followed by a tip regarding a missing group of teenage girls, who are being shuttled out of the US and into a life as sex slaves. While SSA Cassidy loves the rush of solving cases, she cannot help but stumble when it comes to getting to know her team. They are leery around her, having recently lost their last supervisor without even a goodbye. In addition to the field agents is the IT tech, Michael Patterson, who seems eager to help however he can. Little does anyone know, but Michael has a secret weapon buried inside his office. He works with ‘Aisha’, an interactive computer program able to synthesise massive amounts of data and inch those on the team in the right direction. As additional cases make their way in front of SSA Cassidy, her superiors are pushing for more successful outcomes. There is a niggling feeling within the entire team that these cases, while seemingly independent, seem to be loosely tied together. Someone is pulling the strings and there is surely something lurking under the surface, a hidden crime that will surely blow everything out of the water. When SSA Cassidy begins to feel that someone within the Bureau is leaking information, thereby showing their hand to the criminal element, she moves quickly. Suspecting that Michael may be playing a role, Cassidy tries to slyly approach him. It is only then that the truth comes to light and Aisha’s services may be even more valuable. A stunning novel that will keep the reader flipping pages well into the night. Ravine captivates and shows that some authors have the gift from their earliest work. Recommended to those who love detailed thrillers that do not stop developing, as well as the reader whose interest in procedurals is well-established.
When I was contacted by the publisher to review this book, I was hopeful that it would be more than a tech-thriller, as I usually have many issues with the computer-filled lingo of such novels. I was pleasantly surprised and proved that I cannot judge a book by its title (or cover). Mark Ravine has put together a great, if long, thriller that will keep the reader hooked while they try to cobble together how a collection of cases can be tied to a single, faceless cabal. Alexandra Cassidy is a wonderful protagonist, whose backstory leaves her seeking stability. Having played musical chairs when it comes to FBI field offices, Cassidy wants to settle down and find her niche. This not only includes a happy workplace, but perhaps something more personal. She comes off as hesitant to open up, but wants desperately to do so. Ravine works this into the narrative, but also provides some wonderful character development. The reader will see how dedicated Cassidy is to the job and where she needs to work on her subtlety. With a number of strong characters, the story builds from the opening pages, offering complex subplots and interesting tangents, all of which work well as the momentum builds. There are so many names to remember that some readers might get lost, but they are essential to build the strong foundation of this novel. The story itself is quite straightforward, but will require some attention in order to see how the web of crimes all tie together. With a cabal working in the background, there is a larger mission here, one that SSA Cassidy must discover. With deception within the Bureau a possibility, the story takes some turns that might not have been initially expected, but this only adds to the intrigue and provides the reader with some added ‘what if’ moments. I was a little put off at the long chapters when first I opened the book, but came to realise that each encapsulates a case or a major concept that is needed to better understand the overall delivery. With ‘section breaks’ for various perspectives within each chapter, the reader has many spots for a break, though there will come a time when the story is clipping along so well that breaks will be unnecessary. Ravine has crafted a wonderful story here and I can only wonder if he will add to the series or perhaps some standalone of equal caliber. I cannot wait to see what’s next, hoping that readers will flock to this one for the time being.
Kudos, Mr. Ravine, for a powerful debut. You have a great writing future ahead if you can keep novels of this quality as part of your repertoire.
Whenever you read a book, I think it is fair to say that as the reader you know your place. You may be an observer, or planted in the mind of the main character, or even something of a detective taking the clues that you are gifted and trying to figure out 'who did it'. In this book I felt awkward, I was not sure what my perspective was meant to be and which viewpoint I was being given. The book was very long, and from about half way through I began to skim read. There is a LOT of unnecessary detail given about things that really distract from the plot. The plot itself was based on a sound premise but not delivered well. None of the characters are particularly likeable and I got no consistent sense of who they were. The timelines were also very up and down, a lot of the first chapter, probably the better part of the book is fast paced but then the action slows and you find a week has passed and then a month. The story centres on Alexandra, an FBI agent sent to run a 'team of screw-up' agents in a field office in Arizona. This team are supposedly like her and find it difficult to respect rank and fit in with others. Miraculously they all seem to hit it off and get along together really well. The other central character is Mike the 'tech support guy' who seems to fly under the radar with a team of now crack FBI agents while 'not so subtly' directing their every move and decision. In one instance he helps them connect a whole lot of dots by making them listen to a rap song in the cafeteria!!! He in turn is guided by a computer program called Aisha that uses artificial intelligence to an incredible degree. There were so many implausible happenings in this story that it all felt quite over the top and unbelievable. The characters and their conversations were quite wooden and two dimensional. Even the attempt at romance did not ring true and made me cringe a little. While others appear to have enjoyed this book, I am afraid it was not for me. In my opinion it needs to be edited right down to make it shorter and much sharper. Thank you Dawn Hill Publications for the opportunity to read this digital book in exchange for an honest review.
Many thanks to Dawn Hill publications for a copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
It’s been quite a while since I have picked up a good FBI thriller. Yes, this definitely has romance in small doses so in a way, The Tech by Mark Ravine can be classified as a romantic suspense but really, this book is packed with wham boom action and it was super exciting to read.
SSA Alexandra Cassidy is being moved into a new office, new team and new place. Her team looks like a band of misfits, Val, Gabriella, Don, Nancy and John but each of them have excellent capabilities that go beyond kowtowing to the top brass. There’s also a highly skilled technology expert Michael Patterson in their office who seems to have eyes and ears everywhere.
Fireworks burst on the first day of work for Alexandra in the form of a bank robbery but 24 hrs later, her team has managed to nab the culprits with a very timely tip. There’s an overload of cases, girls getting kidnapped, identity stolen, hacking, arms deal going haywire, neurotoxin production, oil wells catching fire, Alexandra getting shot at, bombs exploding, that the story seems to be running in so many different directions. But the author has brilliantly managed to tie up all the threads into one tight yarn that it was such an adrenaline filled ride.
The unfolding of each segment of the story with parts about Gabriella and Nancy adding to the drama was brilliant but it was the enigmatic Mike along with Aisha that had me in ecstasy. A well written thriller with awesome technology, it is absolutely surprising this is a debut work.
This one made me feel like I had an insider’s view of the FBI. We have Alexandra, a fairly senior agent, transferred to a new field office and charged with creating a new team out of some misfit agents. They are quickly drawn into a bank robbery case which they quickly solve in 24 hours. That one is followed up by a missing person’s case. Again, they are able to solve that case quite quickly. The team is given case after case and soon a pattern emerges, could they all be connected and one cabal is behind it all?
Behind the scenes we have Mike, the IT guy, who has a secret weapon that he uses to help the team. We get an inside look at how Mike uses technology to track down the bad guys. It did make me think if this scenario is realistic. Wouldn’t it be great to be one step ahead of the bad guys?
There’s some romance thrown in and the team has to pull together when they get close to discovering the truth and the shadowy forces do not want that to happen. Their lives are in danger as they continue to circle closer to the cabal.
I added a half star to my original rating, because I keep thinking about this one! It could benefit from some editing, I thought it was too long.
Thank you to Dawn Hill Publications for the complimentary copy to read.
Thank you Dawn Hill Publications for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I don't like writing negative reviews, so I'm going to keep this brief! The Tech follows FBI agent Alexandra Cassidy as she's assigned to lead a ragtag group of agents. The book is a series of interconnected cases, each building on the last, until Alexandra realizes that they all trace back to one shady organization: a cabal that she will have to take down.
My main issue with this book was that I didn't mesh with the writing. I found it choppy and clinical, such that instead of being immersed in the story, it felt like I was reading a secondhand report of everything going on (and a dry one, at that). I also confess that I didn't really connect with any of the characters; the downside of being unable to get into the writing was that I couldn't get into their heads, either. The book was also REALLY long, and I felt myself drifting as I read.
There's a dash of romance, and the pace does pick up toward the end!
Special Agent Alexandra Cassidy is one of the FBI's best agent. She's smart, diligent, and she knows how to lead.
Headed to the rural area of Arizona, while on the plane, she reads the files of what's to be her new team. Sadly, those files reveal that there are a bunch of cases ... unsolved ... and the team has a whole slew of black marks.. which is why they've probably been dispatched to the backwaters of Arizona.
Upon landing, she finds the offices deserted ... all but Mike, a man of many talents ...and many secrets. He's the tech .. the man who makes computers do whatever he needs them to do. He's the biggest asset this FBI office has. All the other team members are out on a call .. a bank robbery.
While the case is quickly solved, she's not impressed by the work ... or lack of it ... that has been done. Actually, they do get better under her leadership, allowing them to solve a multitude of different crimes.
But isn't it suspicious that these cases seem relatively easy to solve? It doesn't take a genius to figure out there's something not quite right .... and when she stumbles into a conspiracy, she's not sure who she can trust.
This techno thriller seems to be well written, with just a bump or two along the way, but not enough to stop reading. It's full of non-stop action, with twists and turns that feel like a roller coaster ride. Characters are deftly drawn and I enjoyed watching the relationships grow and change the more they all worked together. My only con is that the conclusion, which was totally unexpected, comes with a cliffhanger.. and hopefully a follow up will eventually become available.
Many thanks to this debut author and Dawn Hill Publications for the digital copy of this crime thriller. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
2.5. Publisher asked me to read and write a review.
The story has a good foundation, an all knowing technology expert embedded with an FBI unit. The book follows the unit as they unravel one investigation after another with astonishing success, thanks in large part to the tech. The book is readable, but the story is drawn out way too long.
Obviously the author is not completely familiar with American English. Tracks would be a sweatsuit, cabin would be an office, cabin bag should be a carry on. felicitation ceremony is some sort of celebration. Meters rather then feet (yet using feet later in the book]? Operating theater in the states is an operating room. Many others. This language is completely acceptable in reading a British book, but this was supposed to told from an American’s point of view. It became a source of annoyance.
And then the various errors just distract you from the story.
FYI, Baltimore is on the water but not by the ocean.
Typos. For example, Regula becomes regular in the next sentence (page 895). Editing issues such as where a paragraph was repeated. Referring to some one from south east Asia concluding they might be Korean.
Not to mention so many inconceivable events. An agent shoots a suspect in the head from point blank range and continues working as if nothing happened?
Courtroom scene? The state is not the prosecution in federal court, it is the US government. The Objection of leading the witness, when it is cross examination, is just a bad objection. Conflict of interest representing the two defendants. I believe federal court allows uncorroborated accomplice testimony for a conviction, but at a preliminary hearing, oh please.
A congressional hearing into alleged agent malfeasance.
I love to eat, but every scene in the book has a meal.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Hmm, this was a slightly frustrating read overall.
It has the bones of a good story behind it with a series of linked crimes to be solved by a new FBI team. In the crime and action scenes, it has its moments. However, it really suffers from a number of basic issues in the writing and characterisation. It’s frustrating as stronger editing and constructive feedback to the author could have resolved these and made the book a much more fun read.
Conscious that this is a first effort from the author and have seen many positive reviews and comments, so will try to be relatively constructive in the review, in the hope the next book can lose some of these issues.
On the positive side, there’s a decent amount of technology and action that runs through the book. And in general these parts are clear and tightly written. Suspect the author is a big fan of the show 24 because at times it felt a lot like someone writing a book version of one of their plots. If that’s your thing, you’ll like these parts of the book. There are numerous crimes or events that the FBI team need to resolve, and the way technology is used to support the action keeps your interest.
Also, the backbone of the story, with all these crimes linking together to lead the team towards the mysterious cabal, is also a good framework. Even if it did get a bit lost at times.
Which brings me on to some of the challenges with this book.
Firstly, while the action and tech scenes are well-written and paced, there’s a lot of not so good writing in-between those scenes. It’s really ‘over’-written in places, and I found myself wanting to go through and edit out lots of this. That’s not a great reading experience.
For example, there’s a great piece of advice in Stephen King’s On Writing book about how adverbs are not your friend. Well, this books completely stuffed with them. Like the adverbs are having a big party. Everybody does things ’laconically’ or ‘dramatically’ or ‘furiously’ all the way through. And this reader was ‘annoyingly’ distracted by them all.
Add in that no-one seems to just ‘say’ anything. They ‘retort’ and ‘utter’ and ‘announce’ and ‘declare’ and it’s like the author is deeply trying to avoid using the word ‘say’ when it would have been perfectly fine. Some of the dialogue sections are a chore to go through because of this.
The pacing isn’t also helped by really long-winded filler sections where nothing much happens. People going for coffee. Descriptions of what people have for breakfast and lunch. What people are wearing. Pointless dialogue about other events that don’t add to the plot.
Some of these sections felt like a first draft that hadn’t been edited. And if they had just been chopped out completely, the plot itself would have been more front and centre and it would have been a more enjoyable read.
But probably the biggest gripe overall was the characterisation and character development. In most stories, the IT or tech expert is a bit of a bit player, the nerd who helps the hero with gadgets. I liked that the author tried to flip this around and make the tech expert the hero of the story.
But he ended up making a character that had no flaws. None. And that makes him come across like a smug arrogant tw@t to be honest. At one point he even says his only weakness is he ONLY learned two languages. Apart from that, there’s his FOUR degrees, his martial arts skills, his tech skills, his cooking skills, and his ability to solve every crime with his home-made IT systems that’s a combination of Siri, Alexa and Kit from Knight Rider.
Actually, scrub that, he clearly does have some more weaknesses.
Like the fact he’s a creepy stalker that spies on all his workmates to insinuate himself with them. Or the fact he ignores all laws around legal due process, privacy and hacking on the basis that ‘it’s all for a good cause’. As defined by him. Nup, I really couldn’t warm to this character at all.
And the rest of the team (of which there are many and hard to keep track of) seem like one-dimensional bit parts from any typical US crime show. One of them of them has a rich mother and gets a new boyfriend. One of them is a bit older. Two of the other ones are good-looking. That’s about as much as I remember.
If you’re willing to scrape through the bad bits, and like the tech side of crime, it might be worth a punt. We should be supportive of first-time authors and like I said at the start, frustrating that there is a decent story framework behind it. But I do hope the author gets a much stricter editor for his next book. One who hates adverbs.
I’d like to thank Dawn Hill Publications for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review.
This book was hard for me to get into. While the gist of the plot was a fun FBI adventure story with plenty of intrigue and action the characters didn’t have the depth for me to be fully invested in what was going on. The criminal activities were interesting and well written. The dialogue felt wooden and I think kept the characters back from growing. There was a lot of potential with the characters, especially the main character Alexandra Cassidy. There were a lot of things that felt improbable including the romance sprinkled in. I struggled to believe that a talented FBI team lead would fall for a guy she had justifiable suspicions about. My favorite character was probably Aisha, she was interesting and unique.
The Tech packs an all-the-way captivating and engaging storyline along with three dimensional characters. The plot twists and turns are highly ingenious and unforeseeable with changing loyalties of characters and unpredictable events that would leave the reader on the edge of their seat, only add to the reasons why The Tech is a great read. Intriguing FBI investigations, mysterious cabal, determined protagonists given their moments in the spotlight equally well, and an expansive role of Artificial Intelligence as a vital cog in the story; The Tech is a great read for mystery and thriller fans.
The Tech features Special Agent Alexandra Cassidy, a fierce and determined agent of the FBI who is newly transferred to the Arizona Field Office with a team of seemingly discards from other locations. However, the very first page starts off with a bank robbery case for the new FBI team to crack, and crack they do with flying colors. However, as more cases start popping up quickly for them to solve, it appears there is a mysterious link to all the cases involving a sinister cabal of highly placed members in the Government hierarchy. The cases themselves include clues and breaks that seemingly come from inspirations from unlikely sources, but in reality, have very much to do with an enigmatic FBI IT tech named Michael Patterson hence the book named The Tech. The case investigations, involving the FBI agents working the clues and leads along with the help of an enigmatic source, are highly fun to read with respect to the machinations involved with warrants and evidence and case-building. The plot twists and turns keep the narrative from getting stale and boring. As the cases pile up, the presence of a sinister and lethal cabal behind the scenes becomes more apparent, raising the stakes for the agents personally.
One of the unique aspects of this tech thriller, is the usage of Artificial Intelligence in a profound capacity, displaying awe-inducing abilities of the AI, all of which resonate with the current and not-so-far fetched capabilities of an AI. The AI itself is introduced gradually, in tune with the highly suspenseful vibe of the book.
The characters are another plus points in the book. Each character in The Tech is given naturally flowing dialogues and personalities that are a delight to read. Agent Cassidy shines as a strong lead who follows her gut and stands tall against scary odds and dangerous assassins. Michael Patterson was my other favorite character, charismatic and smart. Agent Cassidy and Michael Patterson’s chemistry is striking and adds to the emotional depth of the book. Both are strong and independent characters with distinct characteristics, and also form a great duo together in both professional and romantic capacity.
While the action is written well in terms of authentic firearms descriptions and fast-paced nature, the action sequences can be improved, in terms of a higher quantity of action sequences as well as making the sequences a bit more clearer and adding some descriptive details such as the name of the firearms more often and focusing on a character’s POV in a shootout. I had a superb time reading The Tech, and I have to thank Dawn Hill Publications for providing me a copy to read and review. I was not sure what to expect, but I was pleased with the thriller. From the plot down to the nitty gritty details of the FBI case investigations, The Tech is an exciting and fun techno thriller with gritty realism and just enough fiction to create an exciting reading experience. I recommend this book to readers looking for a book that is heavy on story and characters and light on action.
I was given this in return for an honest review. I hate the fact that I am going to be negative. All first time authors deserve credit for their efforts and in this case I feel that it’s the editing that has let this book down, I simply could not finish it. I read the first two chapters and can’t bring myself to read more. Each chapter takes more than an hour to read! It’s ridiculously long. There are plenty of sections where the chapter should and could finish but no they go on and on and on. This makes flow and keeping up really hard. I consider myself an intelligent reader but had no idea what was going on most of the time. I quite liked the premise but found Mike the tech guy a bit creepy and surely the team would be suspicious of being suddenly so brilliant. Also I just don’t like all the law breaking. Surely everything becomes inadmissible when gathered by Mike? Who knows. If this was ever edited properly I would try it again but as it stands I just can’t read it. Sorry.
Special Agent Alexandra Cassidy starts a new job in Arizona as head of a group of agents considered 'misfits' by other offices. They instantly start closing cases in 24 hours or less. Eventually, they start noticing that there are links between each seemingly separate case, and that there may be something much more sinister beneath the surface.
I don't like writing negative reviews. I like supporting new authors, believe in constructive criticism, and I know my tastes are not universal. So I'll start by saying that I've seen many positive reviews for The Tech online. When Dawn Hill Publications asked me to review this book I thought the plot sounded interesting, the positive reviews made me more interested, and I was fully ready to like this book. The basic premise is an interesting twist on traditional FBI/police dramas: what if the tech guy, usually a third layer character at best, was instead really the one solving the cases and pointing the agents/officers in the right direction? A good idea that could have gone places, and definitely could make an interesting TV series.
But the book didn't deliver on that promise for me. At a massive 463 pages, The Tech never got off the ground and dragged the way through. None of the characters was more than a flat, one dimensional version of the stock characters we see on any given TV show. The attempt at a romance between the two main characters was neither needed nor any good, bogging down at teenage levels of a crush. Most of the individual cases came about so fast, and often in questionable ways, that I sometimes had trouble following what were supposed to be complex ideas and ended up being such a tangle that I didn't care about them. I kept hoping the mysterious Cabal of bad guys pulling the strings would turn into something really deep and sinister, but that all got a bit over the top as well by the end.
I had big problems with Mike, the "tech guy" who is supposed to be our hero. He's created an A.I. program called Aisha (think Tony Stark's Jarvis) and can hack into anything. He doesn't worry about things like warrants or privacy, and clearly needs to have the definition of creepy-stalking a co-worker explained to him (also, lying). Apparently he can do everything, then leads his adopted FBI team to find what he wants them to find with less-than-subtle manipulation. He has no problem planting faked evidence to get bad guys, or destroying evidence. The Tech could have become a fascinating debate about privacy versus public safety in a world where technology is expanding by quantum leaps every day. Do you have the right to expect privacy in a public elevator? In your office? Your apartment? Can the average citizen trust that anyone smart enough to develop this kind of tech is moral enough to use it for the good of the many? Is it ok to set up people with fake evidence when real evidence shows how evil they are? Moral debates never happen though, and any time one might start, Mike waves it away, assuring us that everything is ok. After all, he's on our side. Isn't he?
I believe that editing is where The Tech fell apart. Ravine had a good idea and a really long story that could have been polished into something captivating with help and feedback from an editor. Stilted text and dialogue could have been relaxed, repetitions could have been removed. Plot could have been streamlined and sharpened and the language Americanized (there's nothing wrong with British English, but if the characters and location are entirely American, the language should be too). Perhaps an editor could have helped encourage character development and some of the moral debates the use of technology in law enforcement calls for today.
Overall, The Tech was a debut novel with a good plot skeleton that needed some guidance and feedback to make it what it could have been a very interesting suspense story.
I received a copy of this book from Dawn Hill Publications in exchange for an honest review
In this lockdown, I was looking for some new genre to try. I came across the blurb and this book instantly caught my attention due to different cover. This is a huge book so it took me a while to read it completely. I will try to summarise the blurb briefly. The protagonist of the story is Alexandra Cassidy. She was trained in Quantico and recently shifted into a new FBI office. She is dedicated towards her work and profession. She took charge of Arizona field office. Soon she realised her team mates or colleagues are looser or victims. Her first case of joining day is a Bank Robbery. The story starts with that case and author has narrated the entire incident so amazingly and skill fully. She and her team solved that case within few hours. After that they got case of child trafficking. I liked portrayal of the characters such as Ramsay and Nancy. This is just introductory part. Read the book to unfold entire plot. I loved the plot. For me it was really different than my regular readings. I recently watched series based on crimes, cops, robberies, etc. and I liked the narration style of the author the most as I liked reading this more than watching those series. Author has paid attention to very minute details while description. I liked author’s imagination and observation. Author has used good vocabulary and language. There are number of characters that make plot interesting. The story moves at faster pace, I liked that. There are number of twists and turns plotted. And I couldn’t predict what is going to happen next during entire story. I really enjoyed reading this. Recommended from my side.
Cheers to Dawn Hill Publications for giving me a copy of this book - but do not worry, friends, my review is 100% honest here.
First of all, I genuinely did enjoy this book and I will certainly get into all the things I liked a bit later, but can I just first ask why thriller and crime and detective story writers think that it's impossible to have a good plot and good characters with personalities at the same time? And this doesn't just go for Mark Ravine, it goes for the whole damn genre - so many of these books nail the plot with a gripping storyline and then just throw in some characters with maybe two personality traits (and not even for each character, two for the whole gang.)
Because the story of Agent Cassidy is an interesting one. The pacing is good, the slow trickling of information keeps your attantion and there are enough twists and turns to provide an element of surprise (or maybe I'm just dumb because I never know who the killer or crime syndicate leader or whoever is in a crime story - even when people claim it's obvious). But the characters fall flat: there's nothing distinctive about them, and definitely nothing interesting. They lack development as well which is just unfortunate because the potential of a group of misfits thrown together was there with all its promises - but it went absolutely nowhere.
And don't get me started on the romance - please, save me from the unnecessary romance in books that do not need them.
The 3 star rating (or maybe 2.5, I haven't quite decided yet) is deserving, though. It's an FBI story and it reads like one. There were countless times when I thought about how good it would look on TV, like a next generation White Collar. The flow of the whole book is very TV show-y and I did like that.
One last thought and then I'll let you go: as far as I know this is Mark Ravine's first book. And while there are countless times when that doesn't matter (there are excellent debut authors out there), this time I definitely felt that - both in the slightly stilted writing and in the fact that the book definitely got better and easier to digest as it progressed.
So all in all, reading the next book from Ravine is not out of the question - but for the love of God and all things mighty, give your characters a sliver of a personality.
If you are a fan of Criminal Minds, Mr. Robot, 24, and The Blacklist then The Tech By first time author Mark Ravine is a must read novel.
Full of action, in depth character development, intense OMG moments of life and death, mystery and intrigue this book will give you palpitations one moment and tender empathetic feelings the next.
The story begins with a well planned bank robbery that goes off without a hitch. Then we meet Supervisory Special Agent Alexandria Cassidy on a plane to head up a rogue FBI team. Alexandria has a problem with authority but so does her team but before they can size each other up they are solving the bank robbery. The cases keep piling up from sex trafficking to stolen identities.
Helping to solve these cases is IT specialist Michael Patterson who has created "Aisha" an interactive computer. He seems to know more than anyone about these crimes. Is it just because of his IT skills? Is there a conspiracy within that connect these crimes? How can you fight an enemy who knows your moves before you do?
Aside from the criminal aspect there is a bit of romance, back stories to understanding motives and many mysterious twists. I am so impressed this is a debut novel. It is written without being bogged down by too much technology lingo which I appreciated as having no tech skills. There are a lot of characters to keep track of but the important ones to remember stand out. It is a bit lengthy but then again I want more from this team and hope this is the start of a series.
Speaking of series this would make a great TV series since other than The Blacklist the shows I mentioned have since ended their runs. Are you listening FX Networks and Netflix?
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Alexandra, known to be the rebellious FBI agent takes charge of her new team in Arizona - a team who are as bad as her in screwing up the job. As they team up to solve new mysteries, they are thrilled to be solving new puzzles one after the other, each of them even involving help from unknown sources and informers. Only after solving the initial few does Alexandra realize that each of these cases are linked and there is more than that meets the eyes. There is a super powerful authority behind these crimes and the sources within FBI are not at all helping Alexandra. As the mystery thickens, and her life is at risk, will Alexandra be able to defy death and expose the truth forms the rest of the story.
At more than 450 pages, the book is a long read. Added to that are the multiple characters at the beginning as each case is narrated in detail. Hence the book is strictly for serious book lovers who have a penchant for stories that are immersive and racy. The story set against the FBI agents and the thrills it provides as each mystery is unraveled are the highlight of the story. The intelligent twists are bound to make the reader wonder in awe. The cover though could have been better as it doesn’t do justice to the story at hand. The book could also have been better with little more editing as the length can bog down the reader at places. The technology used by the characters is again subjective to reader’s liking as few sequences may seem to fictitious. That said if you are a fan of thrillers especially the espionage and sci-fi ones then this one is a must read.
For a debut author, this book makes for a great start, and worth your time if you are looking for some intense action episodes and an intriguing thriller.
Before diving into my review, I’d first like to thank Dawn Hill Publishing for sending me a copy for free in exchange for an honest review.
I quite enjoyed how the cases connected in the end. Sure, there were a couple of spots where it felt like it was being a little too long and started to drag because of it, but overall the story remained engaging and kept my interest once I got past those slow, drawn out spots. The one downside of having multiple cases, however, is how many minor characters there were.
While I know multiple cases means new, minor characters will be involved, I still wish there hadn’t been as many as there were as it was hard for me to keep track of who was who and what their involvement was. As for the main characters, they were okay; although, unfortunately, I never felt much of a connection to any of them. Mike was by far my least favorite character. Most of his actions, while understandable due to his role, simply made me dislike him more and more. And the fact that I didn’t like him made it difficult for me to care about his and Alexandra’s relationship.
There were a few errors I noticed, but the main one was how a section from around 70% was a repeated verbatim in a section of 75%. It could be just my e-document copy, but unfortunately it took me out of the immersion as I had to scroll through to see where I originally was before the repetitive scene happened.
Overall it’s a pretty light read and good at maintaining the suspense and tension.
I was given a free download of this book by the publisher, Dawn Hill Publishing, in return for an honest review.
This is one of the most enjoyable and intriguing FBI novels out there. Starting with a team of apparent rejects, and the mysterious Mike - the Tech of the title - the team quickly bond and crack a number of important cases, including a bank robbery and a child trafficking operation, all the while unwittingly guided by Mike. Eventually realising the cases are connected we are led to the mysterious Cabal who running the illegal operations.
If I was to be critical of the plot it’s that we never really found out the Cabal’s motivation, but that may be for a sequel.
The book is written in a really flowing way that never lost my interest, raises some interesting questions about the use of artificial intelligence, and each character, although we don’t learn a lot about them, are interesting and would make good standalone subjects. An excellent read that I highly recommend.
Thanks to Dawn Hill Publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Tech follows FBI agent Alexandra Cassidy who is assigned a team of bottom of the barrel agents with sketchy records. When the cases they are working on get solved in record time Alexandra’s suspicions are on high alert until ultimately she is led towards the mysterious cabal behind them.
I don’t like to be overly critical in reviews if it’s not constructive so I’ll keep this brief. This book too long because it’s unnecessarily descriptive, it feels like there is so much filler in here distracting from a good bare bones plot. The characters dialogue is also distracting, their interactions are very strange and forced. Overall this book would have benefited from a more thorough editing process. I wouldn’t recommend.
Are you a fan of tall and fast roller coasters? If so, then get this book right away! The action starts immediately and then the intrigue and mystery never lets up. This is a book written for someone who wants to go 110 in a 55. There is no coasting in this book. Not even Mike Hammer would be able to figure out this story.
The author builds a story with layer upon layer that just keeps the reader wondering what will happen next or even more so...who knew that would happen. The ending just leaves a reader who adored this book to be crying out for book two.
A strikingly original take on a FBI mystery that will keep you guessing ‘til the end.
I wanted to love this book. The premise I like; however, the characterization is off to the point I was repeatedly pulled out of story. I love crime novels, especially those centered around the FBI, and I look forward to reading what Ravine comes up with next.
Thank you, Mark Ravine and Dawn Hill Publications, for providing me with an eBook of THE TECH in exchange for an honest review.
10/28/2020 One of my greatest joys as a book critic is finding little known indie/self-published debut novels and championing them for the world to read (see: James Roberts' Pardon Me, or anything by Unsung Stories but particularly Rym Kechacha's Dark River.) As such, I'm always open to queries and will rarely turn anything down, schedule permitting. So when this small press thriller came into my inbox, in my favorite genre no less, I was excited to get started.
The Tech is ostensibly the story of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Alexandra Cassidy, a unit leader whose specialty is whipping rogue and misfit teams into shape, partially due to her penchant for rule-breaking herself. She's sent to Arizona to take charge of yet another ragtag crew but finds herself hip deep in a bank robbery investigation almost as soon as she walks into the office. The case is wrapped up within 24 hours, and then the team is sent to investigate the kidnapping of three teenaged girls, leading to a multi-state bust in record time. Alexandra is a little disconcerted at the high success rate she's clocking, but her concerns are quickly swept aside by the growing suspicion that these and other cases that are filtering into the office are related, and may have been masterminded by a sinister cabal that will soon turn its sights on her. But somebody else is already pulling her strings: an attractive, if mild-mannered FBI tech named Mike Patterson who's hiding any number of secrets from Alexandra and her team.
The first problem with this FBI thriller is that none of this is how the American judicial system works. Witnesses are Mirandized but assured they're not under arrest, and warrants are handed out almost willy-nilly. Don't even get me started on the complete illegality of everything Mike does and how the half-assed attempts to turn his evidence into stuff that'll hold up in court is doubtful at best. It's pretty clear that this book was written by someone without much experience with America, never mind the local law enforcement: in just the most memorable example, no New Yorker in their right mind would pronounce the Texan city the same way they'd pronounce Houston St, if they pronounced that last correctly. The dialog overall is heavily British-inflected which, alas, is only the least of the things that strain credulity to its breaking point in this novel.
Displaying more of this lack of attention to detail, alongside lapses in logic and internal consistency, were the characterizations. Mark Ravine has a habit of telling instead of showing, which means that character behavior whipsaws from one scene to another, rendering any development half-baked at best. Even with our ostensible main character Alexandra: what's up with her Russian background and why would she think anyone cares? Her heritage might be an issue were this set during the Cold War, but some thirty years on, it would not automatically disqualify her, especially given how the present-day FBI embraces having agents with a native-level command of foreign languages. So it was hella weird to have all the "wink wink, we know your grandparents are Russian" bits in the book when that's a total nothingburger, and only seemed to set the stage for various of her co-workers to display way too much knowledge of her personal life.
Which leads, unfortunately, to the absolute worst, most ludicrous part of this book: Alexandra falling for Mike. How any woman with half a brain would think Mike was anything but creeper central is beyond me. He knows all her favorite things before he's even met her in person, and is clearly spying on her constantly, with a side of behaving "masterfully", gag. The book very quickly becomes a Barry Sue of Mike being good at everything and attractive to all the ladies, when in real life, he'd be the creepy, controlling guy all the women in the office avoid. Dude is a restraining order waiting to happen.
I kinda feel that The Tech was written by someone who hasn't had a lot of exposure to the emotions of a wide range of people, and who hasn't had to drill down into thinking why people behave and respond in certain ways to different situations. It was also surprisingly draggy for being almost 500+ shallowly written pages, likely a result of the "tell instead of show" ethos that gave each character less depth than a layer of cardboard. The Tech would have been better served by being broken down into several books that were a lot more thoughtful about their characterizations, as well as better researched in dialog, localization and procedure. Mr Ravine should consider workshopping lots of short fiction to better sharpen the various authorial skills he'll need in his repertoire before tackling another ambitious procedural like this one.
The Tech by Mark Ravine was published February 3rd, 2020 by Dawn Hill Publications, and is available from Amazon.
A seemingly ragtag group of FBI agents are thrown onto a new team together, headed by Alexandra Cassidy. On her first day, a bank robbery forces her to hit the ground running. But the team is able to close the robbery case surprisingly quickly. And the next case. And the next. It is soon apparent that there is more to meet the eye, both with these different cases, and with the office's IT guy.
On the surface, The Tech comes across like a police procedural-type story. And pretty early on, the IT guy, Mike, is shown to be somewhat of a high-tech super hero. But the further I got into the story, the more it just felt weighed down by so many things. By the point I began to realize that the cases are connected, I was struggling to keep going. I think this is mostly chalked up to a lack of depth in many areas.
I never felt much of a connection with any of the characters. In the first chapter, we're told about each of the 5 members of Alexandra's team, and I had a very difficult time keeping them separate in my mind throughout most of the book. That may be partly because their personalities, backgrounds (somewhat), and even their looks, are kind of just dumped on us all at once. And this continues to be the case in varying degrees with each new character introduced. I'm not given much chance to find out who they are for myself.
The interactions between the different team members were stilted as well. And all I can really say about Mike is that I was pretty sure I got what his deal was from early one...and I never liked him. He was essentially a vigilante, and there was never really any repercussions for the liberties he took.
The main thing the story has going for it is the intricacies of the plot. The author clearly mapped out his ideas in detail, and the threads can be seen tying it all together. I have a lot of respect for the work that went into the story. However, I think it needed further editing and refining. I didn't care for the style, which might have just been personal preference, but it felt very redundant at some times and full of contradictions at other times. I don't know how well I followed the details of the story, sticking instead to a wider view.
I've read a lot of self-published books recently. Though this book was published by someone other than the author, it has the feel of a self-published book. The thing is, I can give a lot more allowance to a self-published book, because those authors don't have the resources of a publishing company behind them. But this book felt like it needed a lot more editing work. I don't know how any paid editor lets a book get past him with two characters in close proximity being named such similar names as John and Don (I still don't really know which of those guys was which). I personally wouldn't be able to recommend this book to be read by others, however, please note that the book has all positive reviews besides mine (at the time of me posting this). So if it does sound interesting to you, please read the other reviews and consider checking out the book.
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
BBook Title: The Tech Written by: Mark Ravine Published by: Dawn Hill Publications ( 2019)
This is a debut enthralling crime thriller by Mark Ravine. The book is so engaging, and I finished the lengthy one within a day. The story switching over from one to another, but the chain has not broken even once. All the cases lead to the first one and there is a strong point. The book started with a brilliantly intriguing and compelling introduction that had me bewildered as to where the story would lead.
Story in short: -
FBI officer Alexandra Cassidy is transferred to the backwaters of Arizona and on joining new office she surprisingly finds out all her colleagues are having a black mark on their carrier. A case of bank robbery welcomes her to the new city on the joining day and she just within no time, joins her colleagues to nab the culprits. A bare minimum…. 24 hrs her team successfully be able to close the case and nab the robbers but surely based on a tip. Alexandra was surprised to get another case of child trafficking immediately. The cases piling up and her team successfully chased down the culprits. But they surprised to get a hint on each of these cases. The cases going up and the team has geared up…what will happen at the end? Should they be able to close the cases successfully?
It's classic police procedural with Alexandra's added unique skills. As it progresses, the investigation runs smack one into another case. What I love about this book not only the strange case, but small, small cases, investigations added one into another. I just feel it was a touch long to keep up the suspense and tension throughout. There was a big list of characters and the interactions with them were very intriguing and interesting.
My Views about the book: -
Partly to be honest. I was not totally surprised by the twist towards the end when we learn just how everything is connected. Sometimes, the answer is in front of your eyes all the time and I have read so many thrillers that I felt it was obvious how the story is going to get over. But for surely everyone will enjoy this crime action thriller. The intensity of the book from the first chapter to the last has always been a 10! A perfect 10.
Overall, it is a fantastic story, and Mark Ravine does a fabulous and great job with both the mystery/thriller elements and the character /story development, with great attention to detail, and fully established stories. Even when you cringe at some of the choices on investigation, they completely make sense for the character. it is a lot of fun, and terribly super addictive. much better than a meeting. The pace of the tale is quick, tricky - cracking along without exceeding posted limits, advancing nicely to the big climax.
I really recommend this book for people that want to start reading suspense, thriller, and mystery books, because this book has all in one and will engage you throughout your reading.
this book was recommended to me by the publisher, but i didn't receive a free copy and this review is entirely voluntary.
2.5 rounded up to 3; i wanted to like this more than i did, there's just a little more to dislike. i do admire the characters and how distinct (if a little cliched) their voices are, and the action sequences never feel repetitive despite taking up the majority of the book - but there's just a bit too much that's unsatisfying in the narration. my biggest issues are that: a) everything feels too easy, and b) there's just too much going on.
- everything feels too easy. because of the AI aspect, there's little in the way of mystery, and what mystery there is is quickly worked out via dialogue; there's some large infodumps at the end of the book that i felt could have been better incorporated, particularly with regard to some of the "plot twists"; one point feels introduced seemingly out of nowhere, and a few more clues could've been added into the narrative to make it seem a more natural conclusion. the agents do actually have a bit to do, but ultimately, there's never really any sense of suspense, because it's clear they're going to win at the end of the day.
- there's so much going on. the plot bounces from bank robberies to human trafficking to gun trafficking to rogue viruses to russian hackers, all of which are connected via a shadowy "cabal", all condensed into one book. it's a lot to take in all at once, and i feel the narrative would've been better served had it been split and diced up into a series, working slowly towards the end result. there's simply just too much stuffed into a single book; as a result, the narrative feels stiff at times, the transitions difficult to adjust to, and the characters underdeveloped/not allowed the room to grow and bond (which, in turn, makes the shifts in their relationships, particularly the romance, feel too forced).
i just wanted more. the ending felt abrupt, almost as if interrupted in the middle of a chapter; i would've enjoyed something a little more concrete, whether it be a hint of some future sequel or something that made it a little more clear this was the end. i wanted more from the characters, who have a lot of potential in their dynamics and had moments of reflections on their identities - something that really is lacking in the genre, and was a welcome touch. regardless, i think ravine was a lot of potential, and i'm looking forward to what he writes next, whether it's something within the same universe or another book entirely.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
PLOT // The book starts with the rebellious FBI agent Alexandra Cassidy taking charge of her new team at the Arizona Field Office. As we're acquainted with each of them, we learn that Nancy, Don, John, Val and Gabriella are expendable screw-ups, just like their boss. When they start working together, they solve many cases fairly quickly, to their surprise. They realize that they've had help from unknown sources, which is provided by their suspicious IT head Mike. Analyzing their suspicions, the expendables discover links between all the cases and prepare themselves to solve a life-risking conspiracy.
WHAT I LIKED // This technological thriller was nicely laid out and I loved learning about the intricacies of how FBI works. The plot twists, especially in the climax, are pretty cool. I liked Mike as a character and watching him work with his invention Aisha were really the best highlights of the book.
WHAT I DISLIKED // It's a really really long book, and it gets very mundane at times. It's a bit hard to keep track of all the cases in the beginning, because there are too many characters and the cases overlap, although it gets easier when they converge in the end. The development of the characters is worth appreciating, but the author does that in a very complicated and congested way which is why it gets hard to know them enough to actually like them.
CONCLUSION // Although a bit long and hard to follow, it's a good book to see some cops in action, making their way through an intricate plot. I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset https://rakhijayashankar.blogspot.in
This is quite a gentle introduction to the FBI and thriller stories as the action is pretty light with nothing too disturbing in the storyline. Cassidy has been transferred to work with what appears to be an oddball group of agents in the FBI. Each of them seems to have upset someone in their past posts. She is thrown straight in when a call comes in and the story takes off on the first case for the team. What doesn’t feel right for Cassidy is the swift easy that they solve the case? When the team get case after case that seems impossible not to solve Cassidy begins to look a little deeper. It is quite a motley crew that make up the department, except for the very handsome tech guy Mike, who sends Cassidy into a bit of a tailspin. This gives the book a bit of a new feel with it. Not wanting to give anything of value away you will have to read the story to find out what it is about. The characters are a bit of a strange bunch that click together more as the story progresses. The book did feel a little long in places but the number of cases that the team tackle keeps it afloat. It comes together pretty well, with action that won’t give you nightmares. If you like the softer side of thrillers this gives you a good run for your money and it can be even found on Kindle Unlimited which is a real bargain. There is the promise of a second book with the ending so one to watch out for in the future.
I received this book from the publisher in response to a GoodReads Group request.
For the 1st effort by this author I am quite impressed. This story has all of the characters interacting well with each other and the action throughout keeps your interest.
The story begins with Alexandra being transferred to a new field office. When she disembarks from her flight, she goes to her new office, but all of her new team are out in the field. They are investigating a bank robbery that has just occurred. Amazingly they are able to resolve this case in less than 24 hours. They receive more cases and again they are able to resolve those also in every short time. These cases are not easy and in fact have a great deal of danger associated with them. Unbeknownst to the team, but which they discover later on, is that there is some sort of connection between them all.
This story has it all from bombings to potential mole in the FBI. The quick response that the team is able to make is associated with receiving some help from an unknown source. To find out who the party is that is causing all of these events , who the source is providing the assistance, who the mole is and what event happens in Washington D.C. then you will want to read the book. The ending will give you all of the information, but you inclination of what would happen would probably be wrong.
I recommend this book highly and look forward to reading more from this author.
This was labeled as a suspenseful thriller and it was quite the book. I really enjoyed how much was happening and I felt like you never had a chance to stop as there was little "down" time. The main character was okay, I didn't really like her character as much as I was hoping but I did enjoy Mike as the "tech". I think I related to him more since he was kind of like the IT guy and I do a lot of that at my current workplace.
I do think that it could have been a little bit more thrilling than it was. The suspenseful parts were done really quickly and didn't give enough time to build up the suspense to get me nervous for the characters.
I wish that it left a little bit to the imagination so that I could puzzle through and try and figure it out on my own because I find that brings a novel together well when you have the reader guessing but a lot of this book was pretty much laid out for you and didn't leave much to the imagination.
The action scenes, although brief, were very intense and I will say that helped keep me on my toes for it. I would suggest this book to anyone that wants a fast-paced crime book.