By Nate Kenyon
Available now from Thomas Dunne Books (Macmillan)
DAY ONE takes a familiar premise (man vs. machine) and centers in on the very beginning. John Hawke is interviewing James Weller, a tech mogul who left his former company under acrimonious circumstances and claims that he has a doozy of a story to tell. It's strange that he would tell it to Hawke, a disgraced journalist (and hacker, of course).
I thought DAY ONE did a terrific job with the horror elements. Several scenes are terrifying, and the expanse of the antagonist is daunting. Even the coffee makers have turned against humanity, under the control of Doe. I did feel that the protagonists sometimes made terrible decisions. For instance, they decide that the best way to travel through New York is the subway tunnels. They had a few reasons for that, but none of them make up for forgetting that subways tunnels are full of trains. Who sets themselves up to be stuck in a small, dark area with a massive, fast machine that doesn't like you?
Some of that may come from the fact that I never really liked Hawke. I thought that some of the other members of his party were more interesting. Hawke is driven by the need to get back to New Jersey, where his wife and son might be in danger from their neighbor. Obviously, everyone understands the need to be with and protect family. But I just had to grit my teeth every time Hawke made a justification for not moving away from a scary guy who clearly has creepy designs on his pregnant wife.
Basically, I liked the action but thought that the attempts to make me bond with the protagonist fell flat. I never cared about his redemption as a family man, I cared about these people escaping murderous technology! I'd stick to checking this one out from the library.