by Cat Connor
Cat Connor’s first three books in a series – Killerbyte, Terrorbyte, Exacerbyte – are apparently followed by other titles, but this review is restricted to those named. Each of these three ends in a way that leaves plenty of scope for the next to follow on from the ones before. For that reason, they should be read in this order. It is important to see them as a series because ideas, and even some sections, are repeated in later books.
The central character is Ellie Conway, a Special Agent with a ‘kick-ass’ approach to her job – much better to meet her on the printed page than in reality. So too, the scenes of horrific murders she witnesses, often described rather too graphically. These books are for readers with a strong stomach.
It also pays not to be offended by extreme language – all the characters pepper their conversations liberally with ‘f’ words. They’re also addicted to cigarettes – some parts almost appear to be ads for tobacco. Perhaps both habits are understandable given the pressure of the job of special agents, but the writing and the scenes would be just as strong without reliance on language that can antagonise some readers.
There’s a growing sense throughout that over-frequent references to movies and music is contrived, and that if you are not familiar with them you could miss some significance in places, but these can be skipped over. Given the above warnings, the stories should appeal to male and female readers alike; and those who are technologically minded should be interested in the references to methods used by both sides in the race between law enforcement and international terrorists.
Agent Ellie tells the story in first person, so you get to know her very intimately, her strengths and weaknesses. You can understand how she has become as she is and can admire her (though not her poetry), even if you can’t identify with her. In one chapter in Killerbyte the first-person narration switches to someone else – the only part where this happens – and this stands out as a glitch in the writing.
In Exacerbyte the storyline brings the agents to New Zealand, so readers here are more on home ground for a while before the action, thankfully given the violent details, returns to eastern USA.
Does the Author’s knowledge of these locales and agencies stack up? As far as I, and the average reader, would know, they do.
Cat Connor has talent as a writer, especially in the areas of storyline and character. It’s a shame the publishing company has let her down by not picking up a number of grammatical and proofing errors that take away from her stories. With stronger editing advice she is likely to become better known in this country and elsewhere.
Killerbyte ISBN: 9780981425696
Terrorbyte ISBN: 9780986973147
Exacerbyte ISBN: 9780986973161
All books including Flashbyte, Soundbyte, and Snakebyte are available from all most online stores in electronic formats and paperback.
Amazon (all Amazon stores worldwide), Book Depository, Fishpond, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, etc.