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on January 31, 2013
First off, just to let you know: I did enjoy reading Encrypted. I thought it was a fun "light" story to read. But I do not think it is a 5-Star thriller as many reviewers have posted, NOR do I think it is as bad as some of the 1-Star reviews either.

Yes, some of the happenings and science in this book are over the top and not totally believable, but it is intended to be a thriller, not science fact. Ronnie & Quirk do indeed have many unbelievable hi-tech gadgets that seem to appear out of nowhere JUST when they need them the most, similar to items from Batman's Utility Belt from the 60's TV show. Holy Shark Repellant!

One thing I found amusing was when Zach was throwing boomerangs in the New York Museum of Art and hitting his opponents and then catching the boomerangs on their return flights. Just how WIDE are those museum hallways? And if you hit someone hard enough to knock them down wouldn't the boomerang just drop and not return flawlessly back to the thrower? And no, Zach was not an expert with the boomerang. Still, I let it go and accepted that Zach and Ronnie were on a roll and weren't going to be stopped.

My biggest complaint is the romance aspect of this thriller. I almost gave up on this story very early on. I thought there was way TOO much cutie-pie/love thing going on (do you think he likes me? I'll pass a note in 3rd period) between Ronnie & Zach (who were acting like a couple of love-sick teenagers (13-15 years old)). I could almost hear Donny Osmond singing "Puppy Love" in the background. For an action-packed techno thriller there is a large amount of romance & flirting involved (and constant checking out of bodies and drooling over hunks/chicks). But with bullets flying around, hundreds of people dying (Black Death, gunshots, stabbings, and so on), missiles being launched, explosions, and all that, the cute flirting and romance seemed out of place. I was not sure if I was reading a Romance novel with a touch of action.....OR....an action thriller with a bit of romance to it. Instead of touting this book as an Action-Packed-Techno-Thriller, it should have been listed as a ROMANCE suspense/thriller. Somehow this never seems to be a problem with action thrillers by Matt Reilly, Jeremy Robinson, Jonathan Maberry, Jon Land, James Rollins, or Michael Stephen Fuchs.

The action/thriller writers listed above barrage their readers with tons of action RIGHT off the bat. They lure you in with the action, hi-tech end-of-the world thrills, and then maybe later on introduce a romantic angle (but usually very low key). At about the 15-30% mark of Encrypted I almost stopped reading, it was just so darn SUGAR SWEET (oh Ronnie, oh Zach.........). Hundreds of people are dying of the Black Death and Mr. Super FBI Agent is going ga-ga over a woman he has never met.

I had just recently read MoonRush by McCray and Ben Hopkin. An action thriller set in the future that was fun to read (and I wrote a 4-star review). It was written in the same vein as the movie "A-Team" (serious, but fun). Jarod (leader of the Rogues) is a hound dog who would would chase any woman with a pulse, but he didn't drool over women WHILE he was fighting for his life or the lives of his crew. He took care of business first. But in Encrypted, McCray really drives home the point that Ronnie is hot for Zach (and vice versa) and that Quirk is hot for the pilot. Over and over again we see the characters: Drool-shoot-drool-dodge missiles-check out his/her/his rear end/abs or whatever-shoot some more-drool and so on. What am I 13?

To me it is not fair to Carolyn McCray to compare Encrypted or any of her other stories to novels written by Dan Brown, or any of the other authors I listed above. Dan Brown set the bar high for religious thrillers. You could tell he puts in tons of research in his stories. For action thrillers check out: Ice Station,Pulse (A Jack Sigler Thriller),Patient Zero,Pandora's Temple,The Judas Strain: A Sigma Force Novel, and D-Boys by the authors I mentioned above. Check out those novels and then you will see why I cannot give a 5 or even a 4-star review to Encrypted. Encrypted is an okay and fun read, but it is not in the same class of novels as those already titles I already mentioned. Think of it like this: I enjoy watching the Indiana Jones movies. Caught all 4 of them in the theaters when they came out. Those movies are big league and cost millions to produce. But, I also enjoy watching the low budget made-for-TV Librarian movies starring Noah Wyle: THE LIBRARIAN TRILOGY - 3 DVD Box Set: QUEST FOR THE SPEAR / RETURN TO KING SOLOMON'S MINES / THE CURSE OF THE JUDAS CHALICE [NON-USA Format / Import / Region 2 / PAL]. Low cost, corny as heck, but fun to watch. I see Encrypted as the e-book equivalent to the Librarian movies. A lower cost/quality book version of the action/thriller titles like The Da Vinci Code or The Judas Strain.

Will I read more of McCray books? Yes. In fact I already have Havoc and Binary on my Kindle and I just recently ordered: Got Thrills? A Boxed Set (A McCray Collection) for only $0.99. This set features six novella stories (one of which is the prequel to Encrypted). I figured for less than a buck I can check out several additional titles by McCray. But now I somewhat know what to expect, at least for the Encrypted stories: Romance w/love angst with some action thrown in.

P.S. For other religious themed action/thrillers, read almost any book by James Byron Huggins. I would highly recommend The Reckoning: A Novel (a Da Vinci type thriller written YEARS before The Da Vinci Code) or Rora. Unfortunately his books are NOT available in Kindle format yet.
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on March 25, 2012
Some may say this techno-adventure is too unbelievable but I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure! A plague and computer hackers with state of the art toys. I started the book while at the gym and spent the majority of the afternoon reading this fast-paced and well written book. The main characters are developed and there are romantic overtures throughout - plausible and understandable - but unaddressed. The sequel cannot come fast enough.
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on February 27, 2012
Encrypted by Carolyn McCray is a fast paced, hair-raising thriller with a cast of fascinating characters. The heroine, Ronnie, has Laura Croft's moves, Sherlock Holmes' intellect and Indiana Jones' charm.

This book stands on its own, but I hope we get to see more of Ronnie, Zach and especially Quirk in future books.

If you like the challenging plot twists of Dan Brown, the immersive medical settings of Robin Cook or the larger than life, but still believable characters of Clive Cussler, you'll love "Encrypted."
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on August 22, 2012
This story has over a hundred four and five star reviews and frankly I have no idea how that's possible. It makes me wonder if we read the same book. Comparing this book to the Bourne Identity, to the Medici Dagger, or to any of Dan Browns books is about like comparing a Yugo to a Porsche. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me set the scene: A hacker, an FBI agent, and a researcher at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) get embroiled in a plot by a secret society with roots back to the 1300's to destroy the world with an improved strain of the bubonic plague. How could you not be hooked by story like this? Chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, I love it all. I work with computers and am a history buff so believe me when I say I was frothing at the mouth to read this book.

My anticipation turned to surprise and finally dismay when chapter after chapter introduced science that's simply not possible, contradictory plot lines, and characters doing and saying things I simply don't believe they would say or do based on the description of that character. The editing was really bad as well. Several places have incorrect (though similar in spelling) words. Wrong or missing punctuation and in a few places it seemed the last couple of words in the sentence were left out. Honestly this was the least of the story's problems so that's all I'll say about it.

It is clear the author has no understanding of basic science nor did even rudimentary research before writing this story. I'm not going to list everything she got wrong but some are simply unforgivable. The worst being magnets used to deflect bullets. This is impossible as lead, being a non ferrous metal, is not attracted to magnets. A simple Google search "will a magnet stick to lead" took 5 seconds and the very first link gave the answer. Another being when the hacker's assistant drops her computer into liquid nitrogen to make it run faster. The speed of a computer is a setting on the main board and does not change based on the its temperature. The only thing submerging your computer in liquid nitrogen will accomplish is to turn it into a brick. Instantaneous vaccines simply don't exist. Once vaccinated, the body takes time to recognize the disease and produce and antibodies for it. For example, the H1N1 vaccine takes between two to three weeks. It's simply not possible for a vaccine to protect one from a disease 20 minutes after injection. Hacking and cryptography are not synonymous. This is a Hollywood "fact". As a "techno" novel about a hacker you'd think the author would try to get some basic knowledge about the subject before writing about it. Am I nit picking? Each of these errors is critical to the plot; if any of them don't work the story has a very different and unhappy ending.

I don't expect any book to be perfect but there's no excuse for missing details that make the rest of the story impossible or a character doing something so out of character the whole story comes to a stop. At one point a character gets broken ribs, yet hours later we see him fighting hand to hand, jumping off castle walls, riding a war horse, and climbing up a collapsed ceiling, all with no problem or ill effect. In fact, broken ribs are never mentioned again in the story at all. In another, the FBI agent is trying to trace the hacker who has bounced her signal through "dozens of satellites". The FBI's assistant shows all the bounces spell out a message. For this to be possible, they most have the source location (I.e. the hacker's location) rendering all the signal bouncing irrelevant. When the FBI agent starts to cry, after the bad guy whom he has been trying to catch for some time gets away, I just had to laugh.

The story concept was fantastic unfortunately the authors reach far exceeded her grasp. Page after page of bad or impossible technology, glaring plot holes, and incongruous characters turned it into nothing more than a laughable farce. If you like tight plots without contradictions, characters whose actions make sense and "high tech" that completely don't break the laws of physics this book is not for you. If I could have given it a zero star rating I would have.
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on May 23, 2013
I have yet to be disappointed in any book by this author. Ms. Caroyln McCray spins a wonderful tale. This book is sort of along the lines of her 30 pieces of Silver. Not near controversial, but that darn good!

In this book we are dealing with Zach from the FBI. Ronnie, the Robin Hood Hacker. Quirk, her trusty assistant. Pilot, a pilot. (Basically, these are the main characters) The world is looking at another Black Plague killing off almost everyone. At the hands of the Hidden Hand organization, we are seeing that true evil never does rest...just waits till the prime opportunity to strike.

What I found interesting about this topic is, it really could happen. We could have another outbreak that would kill over half of the people on this planet.

This is a great book. I was so wrapped up in the inner stories that I couldn't read fast enough. I wanted to know what was going on with Ronnie and Zach. I wanted to see them end up together and be happy. But in the end, is it really going to happen?
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on May 17, 2013
I truly enjoyed this series. The characters and likeable, the pace fast and I love the imaginative gadgets! Great escape from the hum drum
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on August 9, 2013
I, unfortunately, will have to agree with all the other bad reviews. This book has an intriguing concept and quasi-original plot twists, but the action and sequences were so implausible that it made my head hurt. The amount of gadgets that they just so happen to have on them at the precise moment, when no other contraption would work, seems far-reaching and trite. Not to mention that many of these gadgets are all supposed to fit in one tiny little back-pack. The author wants us to believe that her characters possess the Mary Poppins Purse of high-tech and cutting edge gear when really, all it does is take away from the story. And some of the dialogue was very unrealistic.
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on July 26, 2013
To compare this to other well known and well written authors is a crime......It was just plain awful..The first thing that popped into my head was..How old is this person..The writing style came off as that of a high schooler..It just flatlined on and on and on.....I was ready to shoot the damn helicopter down myself along with Quirk and ..See.. It made such an impression her name has flown the coop...The Robin Hood something or another..What a Joke.
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on September 19, 2013
This is one of the stupidest books I have ever read. The author, while trying to make the book exciting, simply makes it unbelievable and pretty bizarre, bordering on the totally ridiculous. I honestly tried to read the whole thing, but finally deleted it because I could not stay awake. Disgusting.
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on May 10, 2013
I found this book to be gripping and thrilling, yet a little fantactic. It is the type of book you can read to just relax and take yourself out of the everyday ho hums of life.
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