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Reaper Mass Market Paperback – October 10, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (October 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061097187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061097188
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 1.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,560,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Mezrich (Threshold, LJ 5/1/96) combines two currently hot topics, the Internet and killer viruses, in his new novel. Telecon Industries is about to revolutionize the information superhighway. Its Set-Top Boxes, provided free of charge to every household in America, will connect each television and personal computer to one all-encompassing network. Television programs on demand, interactive software, network banking, and more will be available in every home?unless, of course, a deadly computer virus that travels through the network's fiber-optic lines kills everyone first. Nick Barnes, a paramedic who was a surgeon before an accident destroyed one of his hands, and Samantha Craig, a supermodel-gorgeous scientist employed by U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, have fewer than three days to determine the origin of the virus before The Big Turn On, the event that will activate Telecon's computer network. Despite its somewhat plausible premise, Reaper never quite rings true because of its unbelievable characters and impossible situations. Not a necessary purchase.
-?Melissa Rockicki, NYPL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Mezrich's second technothriller (after Threshold, 1996) charts the progress of two All-American Perfect Specimens in their race against the clock to stop a rogue communications virus from wiping out most of the TV-watching and computer-literate population. Nick Barnes is a ruggedly handsome former surgeon with a crippled hand who now works as a paramedic at Boston General. Samantha Craig is a young and gorgeous virologist who works for USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases), which is assigned to investigate mysterious deaths, apparently virally caused, though they've occurred in widely separated locales (including Boston). And Telcon, the brainchild of black leader Marcus Teal, is a fabulously successful communications company (it's usurped Microsoft's position) that falls under suspicion when Nick and Samantha (who quickly get beyond their initial mutual mistrust, and into each other's arms) deduce that ``a freak modulation of light emitted through a television screen'' is randomly killing people. In parallel scenes juxtaposed with Nick's and Samantha's increasingly heated pursuit of the super-virus, we learn that Marcus Teal's nationwide electronic hookup is part of a plan to reshuffle contemporary priorities; that Marcus's second-in- command, Melora Parkridge, whose father was a victim of chemical warfare, ``intends to use technology to kill technology''; and that Ned Dickerson, a Telcon technician who accidentally stumbles onto secrets he only half-understands, may be the most dangerous of them all. The story moves along quite briskly, considering the author's habit of downloading reams of undramatized information about electricity, ophthalmology, various branches of medicine, and fiber optics. But its characters are cardboard and its denouement, which features a shoot-out in Telcon's main computer room and some of the hoariest dialogue this side of 1950s monster movies, is also a letdown. About on a par with Robin Cook, and a couple of cuts below Michael Crichton. Wait for the (inevitable) movie. ($300,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I'm the author of nine books, at the moment, including Bringing Down The House, The True Story of Six MIT kids Who Took Vegas- which sort of made me a vegas expert. I live in Boston with my fiance and pug, Bugsy.

Customer Reviews

1.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Not much more can be said about this so-called thriller. The characters are totally uninteresting and are so superficial, you'd swear you have already encountered them in countless other movies and TV shows. The lead character, the doctor with a grudge, is so predictable and corny, you'll almost root for the villians to succeed. The female woman is so lightly developed, you know that there's not much to her personality, let alone her psyche. And the plot absolutely fails to excite or thrill the reader on both the technical as well as the high tech level. Forgetable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the tender age of 32, Ben Mezrich is a writer with good skills that have yet to reach their maturity. "Reaper," while an enjoyable diversion, is full of plot holes and stereotypical characters. The leading characters of Nick Barnes and Samantha Craig are so "perfect," they are nauseating. Add to this those crises in their lives that have left them bitter, and you have two heroes that need to grow up! The plot is rather interesting: a biological virus spread through televisions and computers. We also have three over-the-top villains: Marcus Teal, a black billionaire, who wants to use his technology to "CONTROL" who gets ahead in the business world, most notably, of course, minorities and the poor guys; Melora Parkridge, who is like a modern-day Margaret Hamilton, who wants to use her technology to wipe out technology altogether, for some reason the reader is never fully told; and then we have nutso Ned Dickerson who is being "controlled" by the virus. He's a whacko who is the real culprit in this serpentine maze of incredulities. "Reaper" in the hands of a more mature writer, could have been fun, but it ends up being one of those books you would have passed on had the promotion and premise not been so intriguing. Yawn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
This book really lacks the substance of a good thriller. The plot, however unbelieveable, is brought about using such an old, worn, predictable formula that it really doesn't offer much suspense. The characters are brought in like stereotypes and offer little to interest the reader. Villians are surprisingly weak and predictable so that it doesn't offer any suspense when they plot out something nefarious or when they get thwarted by the good guys. The hero and heroine are also from the same mold. A good-looking, bitter and tragic doctor and a young, smart, cold on the outside but hot on the inside type of babe government investigator--hmmm. how unique. Of course the two should fall into bed as soon as they can and the author really doesnt' try to develop anything believeable on this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
This book really doesn't manage to excite or thrill the reader. The overall plot isn't new--another psycho with technical ways to carry out a grudge against the world. The people out to stop fhe bad guys are quite unrealistic and a bit too far fetched--a good looking ex-doctor with his own personal ghosts and a sharp looking babe with medical degree and seeming endless government budget. Ugh!! Why couldn't the author have come up with something more original than this? The action is fast but totally predictable. The so-called surprises and twists and turns are nothing more than the expected changes in the novel. What is disappointing is that the medical virus, which was so carefully developed at the start of the thriller, becomes totallys secondary by the end so that its almost as if the author forgot about the virus at the end--not a good thing! I'd recommend that if you're after an entertaining read you try other books that are from better know authors...you're more likely to be thrilled and left with a satisfying end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
The book is unable to generate any fear in the reader that "this could actually happen" so it fails to excite and thrill on that kind of level. That's not necessarily a big weakness, but when you couple that to the very inconsistent writing style and the absolutely horrible characters, you end up with a pretty ordinary and unremarkable book. The last chase scene at the end seemed like it lasted for days and days--I don't know exactly why, but I can see from other comments from other readers that we all felt that it was way overdrawn and became almost comic in nature. I'm sure that wasn't what the author had in mind. The overall premise could have been real but the author was unable to convince me. I think the idea of combining a "medical thriller" with a electronic high tech type of story was somewhat interesting, but this author failed to bring it about to a successful conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
The author's choice of characters and the writing style don't amplify much suspense or interest. Instead, you feel like a detached observer and never really get involved. The lead character was so superficially developed and his love interest was so predictable, you wonder why the author even bothered. The climax was so tedious and exhausting, it leaves you wondering how this could have come about. The greatest tragedy is that the virus is brought about so well at the start of the novel but by the time the climax unfolds it has remarkably become secondary to the novel--something that shouldn't really have happened. Better plot construction, and a more carefully thought out story line could have done wonders for this book. As it is, there are many other books that are far better than this one...
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