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Ulterior Motive Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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"The Short Drop" by Matthew FitzSimmons
Meet the assassin The Washington Post calls "a doozy of a sociopath" in this debut thriller from Matthew FitzSimmons. Available on Kindle and in paperback.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Jonathan Goodman witnesses a murder in the parking lot of Megasoft just two weeks after an assassination attempt on company founder and presidential hopeful Jack Malcom, the twists and turns of this high-tech thriller slip right into gear. Goodman, the young project manager for a much-hyped new interactive-TV software program, attempts to unravel the tangles of the mysterious killing (the body later disappears and all traces of the murdered man are erased from existence), only to find himself fighting a conspiracy that seems to encompass presidential politics, terrorism, software espionage, and more.

The lure of this book is the insight into the computer industry. Author Daniel Oran has an insider's view into the workings of Microsoft, as he was the program manager who invented the Start button and Taskbar for Windows 95. Reading this book, one can't help but substitute Microsoft for Megasoft and Bill Gates for Jack Malcom, relishing the details of how life operates behind the scenes at the software giant. This novel offers some frightening possibilities as Oran exposes how your ordinary PC could turn into Big Brother.

Despite some uneven moments, the technological aspects and potential for mishap and crime in Oran's novel are sure to foster a budding genre of computer thrillers. Anyone with access to a computer will enjoy the view Oran provides into the dealings of the tech industry; the plot will have you looking at your own computer with a suddenly suspicious eye. --Jenny Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Former Microsoft bigwig Oran's devilish debut techno-thriller is sure to seduce even computer illiterates. Project manager for a hot new software program at Seattle's giant Megasoft campus, Jonathan Goodman sees a colleague shot by a fellow employee in a company garage, a killing promptly covered up by Megasoft security. When Goodman mistakes reporter Karen Grey's business call for an inquiry about the murder, he sets in motion an investigation that drags them both in deep enough to get fired (thanks to computer-generated frame-ups). Desperate and isolated, Goodman tries to sneak in to see his mentorApresidential candidate and Megasoft founder Jack MalcolmAwith disastrous results. After a hacker boy-genius helps them uncover software clues that reveal a corporate conspiracy for world domination, Goodman and Grey embark on a gigamegaherz race to foil the plot and derail the killers. Although he avoids simplistic explications of the book's plot-driving techie advances, Oran will hook even the least plugged-in readers with his villains' Orwellian e-machinations. The romantic subplots introduce a strong, credible female character, the Seattle setting has the reliability of a roadmap, and Megasoft's goofy campus headquarters, slavish, youthful staff and life-invading technology give this dystopian thriller not just the ring of truth but the marks of an inside job. (July) FYI: After working at Harvard with behaviorist B.F. Skinner, Oran invented the Start button and the Taskbar for Windows 95.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle; First Edition edition (April 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786006579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786006571
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,022,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most thrillers that involve computer technology get it laughably wrong. They are clearly written by people who's most intimate interaction with cyberspace is through a word processor. At best they get spotty advice from geek friends which they probably ignore for the sake of the story.
Not so for Daniel Oran. He's clearly "been there and done that" when it comes to working in a software company. He hits the mark of software development culture right on: from flame wars to by-the-book user interface nazis to twinkie-eating boy hackers to black-turtleneck-clad project managers. (The only things missing are the cold half-empty latte cups everywhere.)
There are a few bugs, however. The action is somewhat contrived at times. There are a few (a very few, and far between) laughable cyber-gaffes that only programmers are likely to notice. Most important, however, the reader seems always several steps ahead of the protagonists. At each point when they finally clue in to pieces of the conspiracy, one is compelled to mutter aloud: "Like, well, duh! Obvious 3 chapters ago!"
Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable light read. I look forward to future fiction from this author. It will be interesting to see what he can do with something not so close to his own life experience. (Oran is a former Microsoft employee.)
Oran has the potential to be to the software industry what Tom Clancy is to the military. I can't wait to find out.
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Format: Paperback
This novel to me is just a so-so read since it's full of broken links and illogic plots and scenario. MegaSoft obviously portrayed Microsoft as the author indeed was one of the wizboys in that copycat empire, while Jack Malcom and Ted Nesbitt were clones of the current two hot public figures of it. As to Jonatham, well, not a quite welcoming creation since he looked pretty stupid and always on step behind the evolved scenario in many ways. How could Malcom survived from the assassination in pointblank? And if I were that assassin moved on to him so close, I'd put three shots to his head, neck, and the chest, instead of his upper torso that might be protected by a body armour worn under the suit. Why and how Jon would only call MegSoft's security after he witnessed a murder in one of its parking lots, instead of calling 911 directly , as a normal, common citizen? If he could survive and climb the MegaSoft ladder so high as to the hottest project, Jon was suppose to be smart, but how could he not become suspicious when the security team that appeared on the scene asked him just to go home and without any real police force ever presented? As I read along, the inexplanable and illogic business-as-usual scenes, the reactions of Jon and other characters, as normal human beings should have behaved, almost jumped out of every chapter with so many whys and hows ???? that only meant the author did a very poor research on any other fields and didn't quite know jack of all trades except his computer exprience and its jargon stuff. This is a story with lot of twists that sometimes over twisted unreasonablly or just poorly twisted not enough, but of course,on the otherhand, it's far better than what "MEG"--THE DEEP SEA TERROR--had moronically tried to deliver in the summer97.
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Format: Paperback
The first few pages got me going -- great opening scene, but the rest of the book let me down. I enjoyed the mild Microsoft references, etc, but it was not enuf to make up for the bland characters and totally precdictable outcome. I guessed the whole thing right from the first murder scene. The female lead is described (and I am not making this up) as a *babe*, and of course *they kill Kenny* (hah. hah. -- sorry, but I had to). Geesh. And surprisingly, there is nothing new or interesting in the way of computers or technology, I bet even Sandra Bullock gets most of the lo-level techno jargon. As a murder mystery, plot intricatcies are lacking, and the structure is too simple -- the hero and heroine meet and do only what is needed to move the thing along -- nothing deeper is offered. Most troubling are the characters who don't behave the way you'd expect from real people of these types. Why does a CIA hot-shot panic and run to his car, unarmed, etc.? Too much about the characters just doesn't make sense. Much is made of the author's invention of the Start button in Windows 95 -- yeah, he's good with beginnings, but ... Finally, a comment WRT my purchasing experience: I was solicited via e-mail by the author from, I think, my reviews here on Amazon. I checked the book's Web site, conversed with other readers and authors I know online, and read other reviews. I bought the book, of course, online here. Though I did not *love it*, I'm not sorry I bought the book, but I thought the purchasing experience said something interesting about the way commerce works these days.
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Format: Paperback
I was also e-mailed my Danny. Being a bit pessimistic about the way I was confronted, I decided to read about the book and read the reviews on "Ulterior Motive". Looked interesting enough so I decided to buy it. I'll tell you, I'm not sorry in the least as this is one of the best first novels I've ever read. Danny writes as though he's been writing for years. Had he not e-mailed me, I may never have heard about his book.
The story tells of an employee at Megasoft who enjoys his job and co-workers totally. He and his friend, Kenny, are banging heads in a positive way in their great working relationship and close friendship. You feel their closenessas much as you fear for them when they uncover what's fishy at Megasoft. The founder, JackM, is running for president with a faithful following by his employees. You trust him. You respect him. You fear him. You ache for Jon as his wonderful world slowly slips away from him.
Ulterior Motive is a must read. You'll be very disappointed if you don't because you're missing one hell of a read and one fast paced book.
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