Review of 'Spook Country'

Spook Country by William Gibson

spook_country.jpg Perhaps better known for his Science Fiction (including the seminal Neuromancer and Count Zero) Gibson here turns his ultra-hip writing style to the world of intrigue.

A shipping container is touring the world with unknown contents that are of interest to several parties. Bobby Chombo, an IT genius, is tasked with tracking the container but feeds misleading information, via iPods, to his employers. Hollis Henry, a reporter, is recruited by the mysterious Hubertus Bigend, having seemingly limitless resources, to write for a European-based magazine on “locative” art (virtual reality enhanced reality where the real world has images superimposed on it via special goggles) when she comes across Bobby who happens to dabble. Bobby, it turns out, it being monitored by a man named “Brown” and his junkie, reluctant, recruit “Milgrim” who just so happens to speak fluent Russian. The story takes us from California to Vancouver where the story comes to a head…What is going on? Would that I say I could tell you what was going on even after having read the book…

Gibson has a distinctive low-key prowse that he brings to bear on this confusing story in short, almost abrupt, chapters. Indeed, you might be forgiven to almost mix the climax of the whole story if you are not paying attention. He is the master of sounding completely up to date with technology and current events yet, when interviewed, admits he is really neither (of Neuromancer he said that he never even used a computer before writing it). In this case I find this all leads to a story that is somewhat bland and certainly not action packed. I often found myself reading and re-reading sections as each word Gibson uses is packed with meaning and skimming too quickly leads to major information loss leaving nothing but confusion in it's wake. Read carefully! I will say, however, that Spook Country is interesting and a decent though somewhat difficult read. Grisham this is not. Enjoyable? To me, not really, but readable.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2013-02-09

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 2007