Seventeen-year old Jack Nill and his father Martin Baxter live in the not-too-distant future in a city what was once New York. Many things have changed since Martin Baxter’s childhood: a small number of mega-corporations have taken control of the country and they are striving for more. Those mega-corps have a finger in every pie, they operate the army, manipulate the water market and of course, the independence and neutrality of the internet is part of a bygone halcyon era. Today, you cannot send sensitive correspondence through the post or via the internet without having to worry about it getting scanned for content. Now, the only way to transmit important data files is by a network of “data runners” who literally run the information over the sneakernet. This procedure, of course, isn’t appreciated by the megas, so running data is the most dangerous game in this very dirty world.

Jack Nill has to accept that risk when he gets into this business. He must make money as a data runner because his father has been tricked in a major gamble and lost a lot.

With his intelligence and his outstanding parkour skills, Jack seems to be the perfect data runner. He is able to run even the most wanted and highly explosive data with a bunch of contract killers on his heels until something unexpected happens. Jack stumbles into a huge conspiracy that could affect the entire North American Alliance. Now, it’s up to him and his friends to use all their skills to outrun their interceptors and uncover the truth. Will they be able to avert the imminent catastrophe?

The author Sam A. Patel has created a future world under the control of a handful of ruthless and power-crazed mega-corporations. Is this an unthinkable plot or a hard-edged realistic scenario? No matter what, this is the basis of a very cool story. Together with Jack, the reader doesn’t go on a rollercoaster ride – that would be way too passive. The author gives you a fascinating insight into the world of parkour and the skills of traceurs when he chases Jack from one dangerous and thrilling data run to the next and the teenager has to overcome highly dangerous physical as well as mental obstacles – “there are no limits, only plateaus”.

Data Runner is a literally fast-paced adventure, action-packed and full of suspense. I cannot pigeonhole Sam A. Patel’s first series; is it a dystopia, SciFi, a book about parkours, computer technology, white-collar crime? Well, I couldn’t care less – I only have one clear category: fantastic book, one of my favourites in 2013 up to now. Five Stars!

Data Runner
: Sam A. Patel
Publisher: Diversion Books
ISBN: 9781626810600
Publication Date: June 25, 2013


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