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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Hill, Brian; Power, Dee: The Making of a Bestseller | Main | Campbell, James: The Final Frontiersman »

Kogon, Stephen: Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth and the Case of the Zombie Virus

  

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iUniverse © 2005, 114 pages (juvenile fiction) [amazon]
3.5 stars

Max Mooth is a socially immature but intellectually precocious nineteen-year-old (he graduated from college at seventeen) with an inordinate fondness for computers--his favorite things in the world, with the possible exception of pudding. Indeed, Max is dedicated to tracking down cyber-criminals, the nefarious disseminators of computer viruses, which he does with the aid of an impressive array of high-tech gadgetry. The Robin to Max's Batman is Mr. Z, a similarly precocious eight-year-old who eschews age-appropriate play and views the world with the cynical eye of a noir detective. Like any hero worthy of the name, Max is saddled with a nemesis, in his case an enemy from his Berkeley days, the delightfully over-the-top Xefland Aurcracker. Aurcracker is the filthy-rich, computer-challenged CEO of a company that produces virus protection software. Aurcracker intends, with the assistance of a minion or two, to release a devastating computer virus, frame Max for the crime, and rake in piles of cash by selling the only software capable of defeating it. At the same time, Aurcracker means to break Max's heart by stealing away the girl he's just met and fallen for (principally because she is nearly as fond of her iBook as he is of his own numerous computers).

Aurcracker intends, with the assistance of a minion or two, to release a devastating computer virus, frame Max for the crime, and rake in piles of cash by selling the only software capable of defeating it.Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth is not a perfect book. Max punctuates his speech with corny computerisms--"Feeling downloadable, punk?"--that grow tiresome. Occasional scenes don't work because they strain credibility: climbing a muddy hill, Max is beset by an unlikely number of worms; he extricates himself from difficult situations with the homemade screwdriver he carries around, which he fashioned, inexplicably, out of paper clips. Max lives in a retirement home, having been raised there by a now deceased grandmother. This is interesting in that it adds a further layer to Max's hesitant relationship with adulthood--the boy/man is more comfortable with children and the elderly than with his own age group. But the implausibility of the arrangement is distracting.

These shortcomings, however, are relatively minor, and they pale in comparison with what the book has to offer: a cast of delightfully quirky characters and some genuinely amusing dialogue and situations. For example, Aurcracker assembles a team of psychiatrists to ask them how best to steal Max's girlfriend from him. "I'm pursuing a woman," he says to them, "mainly to deny a nemesis from having her by completely lying, deceiving and pulling the wool over her eyes. Any ideas how I should proceed?"

Meanwhile, Max, having blocked the door to a certain Mr. Underwood's office with a chair, frantically searches the room and Underwood's computer while its owner is away:

"Just then, the door hit the chair, blocking it. Max jumped, and quickly turned off Underwood's computer. He dove over the desk, back in his chair, as Underwood pushed his way in. Max appeared bored, leafing through his briefcase.

"'What was a chair doing there?' Underwood asked suspiciously.

"'I don't know,' Max said. 'Must've fallen when you left. I'm not a physics expert, Mr. Underwood.'"

Stephen Kogon published Max Mooth himself via the online book publisher iUniverse. I'm hoping the book finds a traditional publisher, as it deserves a wider readership.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.