Friday, December 20, 2013

Channel Zilch by Dough Sharp

Channel Zilch (The Geek Rapture Project, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, a small disclaimer: I sort of know the author. *

I REALLY enjoyed this book! It's a true roller-coaster ride! Heloise Chin (AKA Hel) is an uber-geek girl computer whiz. Her father is a billionaire. She wants to create a reality "TV" show set in orbit. Her dad is willing to fund it, so they reach out to Mick Oolfson, ex-NASA shuttle pilot, and he agrees to be a part of it, as he REALLY wants to get back to space. (He was kicked out of NASA for hot-dogging in a shuttle. ;-) There is only one small glitch: they need to steal a shuttle! And, fortunately for them, the famed shuttle USS Enterprise is getting prepped for exhibit. So their plan is to steal the Enterprise, take it to Europe and use the Russian space port for launch. Easy-peasy! ;-)

Like a true roller coaster, we start off on the uphill climb, where we become familiar with most of the main characters (including Mick's nemesis, the current head of NASA security: you know this won't end well) - and then we reach the top of the climb and away we go! There are theft attempts, run-ins with NASA security, fighter jets, a trip across the Atlantic on a rather smelly boat, a Turkish Star Trek fan with 'connections', and hilarious interactions among the main characters. And like a good roller coaster, when you reach the end, you think "That was over too fast! Let's go again!!" - and fortunately, the Sequel (Hel's Bet) will be published in 2014.

What did I love about the book? Mostly, the characters. Hel is even more of a geek girl than I am, and I just loved her tech-speak. (Doug got all the computer stuff right!) Mick could have been kind of unlikable, as a hot-shot jet pilot, but he has a very self-deprecating sense of humor that really made me like him. The other characters are very interesting (and often quite funny), and serve the story well. I also liked the pacing - extremely well done! This was a page-turner, with laugh-out-loud moments!

In short, this is a book that geeks will love, and anyone who enjoys a good techno-thriller will also enjoy it, especially if they don't mind a little humor mixed in. I can't WAIT for the sequel! (And not just because I'm "in" it*)

* I donated some some money to the ClarionWest writer's workshop several years ago, and the 'reward' was to have my name used in an author's book. Doug was selected as the author, and we've since emailed back and forth, and are now friends on Facebook. Though we've never met in person, I do think of him as a friend. (The book my name will be used in is the sequel to this one: Hel's Bet, which is due out in 2014).