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Simple Simon Paperback – April 5, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Director Ron Howard bought the rights to turn this engaging thriller into a movie, and it's no wonder: the story of a 16-year-old autistic genius being protected by a renegade FBI operative against a secret government agency has all the elements of his kind of humanistic blockbuster. It also helps that Ryne Douglas Pearson--whose previous books, Capitol Punishment and October's Ghost, are also available in paperback--creates instantly likeable characters in unlikely situations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Sixteen-year-old Simon is autistic but very good at puzzles. When he breaks the main computer code for the National Security Agency (NSA), he is perceived as a threat. After the NSA's first attempt kills his parents, Simon is befriended by a Chicago FBI agent, Art Jefferson. The NSA then tries to eliminate Jefferson, first manipulating FBI charges against him, then arranging his wife's arrest. Running from the NSA and the FBI, Jefferson and Simon are then beset by a Japanese assassin with a taste for sadistic methods. The action culminates in a shoot-out on top of Chicago's Sears Tower and a fiery crash over Lake Michigan. Action-packed and fast-paced, with pungent prose, Pearson's (Capitol Punishment, LJ 7/95) latest novel is a cyberthriller that keeps the reader flipping pages frantically. Recommended for public libraries.?M.J. Simmons, Duluth P. L., Minn.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Schmuck & Underwood (April 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615486673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615486673
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The inside cover blurb describes it as "Rain Man" meets "Wargames". Having recently seen Altman's "The Player", I thought this was a joke pitch. I was wrong, it was serious. Clearly written with a screenplay in mind. The graphic violence was unnecessary to make the point about the "bad guy" and will never make it to the screen. Unbelievable conversion of another "bad guy" from one who works through influence to cold-blooded murder. The "good guy" was too saintly. Interesting twist: a shadowy, secret goverment organization engaged in good works
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Format: Paperback
Simple Simon, the book that the movie Mercury Rising is based on is an awsome thriller. Great characters and fast moving action keep this book moving with far more action than Bruce Willis could ever keep up with. A great action packed read.
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Format: Hardcover
This book had a great deal of potential. It seems to have been either over-edited or the author had not researched his subject matter very well.
It is very fast paced, extremely so, with shallow character development and only cursory details about where the action takes place. There is a subplot about a sadistic assasin that one wonders why is in the book. The premise tends to insult the reader's intelligence. It is also sexist and marginally racist.
It is also evident the author was not trying to authentically depict the intelligence establishment or the use of cryptography. There seems to be a 1970's sense of mistrust of the government written into the novel as well as a sense of governmental incompetence.
The characters are cliche but friendly and this book will keep you reading it, however, it will not take very long, the pace is maddening and the details few.
For a brief, if not unsatisfying, distraction, Simply Simon, fills the bill.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading this story which went in many directions without any links. I stayed with it and the links finally connected into a believable suspense involving secret encrypted messages to keep the government secrets and communications out of the wrong hands. Obviously there are those who work for the government, but at the same time work on their own to make their riches by selling secrets. The story line is good, but the characters are too many and they are not that well defined to keep the characters straight in one's mind. Also, the writer's style tends to be a little too wordy and tends to burden the reader. Such style distracts from the excitement of the story. I wish I had passed on this book.
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Format: Paperback
If you don't know this already, Simple Simon was made into the Bruce Willis movie, Mercury Rising. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the movie doesn't hold a candle to the book - as is the case most of the time a novel is changed for the big screen. If you've seen the movie, don't let that deter you from reading the book. There are enough major differences (more than I can count right now) to keep the reading of this novel fresh and suspenseful...

If you don't know the story, there are plenty of reviews that will reveal it for you, but I'm just going to point out what I liked without giving anything else away.

The main character, Art Jefferson, is a guy you can't help liking. His tenderness towards the autistic Simon is more than touching, and the relationship with his wife (yes, in the book he is married) helps make him more of a real person than the gung-ho, punch-my-boss-in-the-face, tough guy character played by Willis. I didn't know that there were three previous Art Jefferson books and, once I figured it out, I got the impression that the character would be even more engrossing once his previous experiences and relationships with other characters were taken into consideration. Those books, Cloud Burst, October's Ghost, and Capital Punishment are now on my read list to be sure.

The side of the story that deals with "Simple Simon", the autistic boy that has unknowingly cracked an ultra-secret NSA code named KIWI (Mercury in the movie, though before I watched the movie again, I thought the title just meant "Things Are Heating Up!") is very emotional. Without given anything away, there were parts in the book where my heart just broke for Simon, and all autistic children for that matter. Pearson does a great job at making that portion of the story very human.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because of its focus on an autistic teen and because I like thrillers. The autistic character was written with depth and understanding without becoming a study in how to write a "special" character. "Simple" Simon was anything but, and his key involvement in the plot was natural and engaging. Art Jefferson, the veteran FBI agent whose latest investigation introduces him to Simon, is a strong figure with the right attributes to meet the challenges presented to him. His short but intense relationship with Simon was moving and really made me care about what happened to these characters.

Simon was not the only special one in the book, however. One of the villains, Keiko Kimura, was quite mentally disturbed. Anyone who enjoys torturing another that much is in need of some serious help. Her sadistic nature was treated as just an evil manifestation, however, without any reasons for her proclivities explored to add depth. Scenes involving Keiko made me squirm, as the torture is quite graphically described.

The pacing was intense, and the plot drove forward in a way that kept me going, if not compelling me to stay up all night reading it. Some pieces detracted from the overall quality, specifically:

-A paragraph describing the Chicago Field Office of the FBI is in present tense, while everything else is in past tense. This was a jarring anomaly, though not really a big deal and not repeated.

-This sentence was awkward and had a redundant description of action: "Kudrow entered quickly, with some haste Rothchild noted, and planted himself a few feet away, hands folded behind his back." (Ch. 8, p. 91 of Kindle version).
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