Every month, Amazon is kind enough to offer six complimentary early access books to owners of the Kindle E-Reader. These books usually span different genres and while you won’t normally find any Stephen King or James Patterson new releases in the group, I have found a handful of excellent novels as part of the “Kindle First” program.
One of the books offered in May was The Speed of Sound by newcomer Eric Bernt. Focusing on the specialized talents that are sometimes found in children with autism, the story revolves around young Eddie Parks and his incredible abilities to understand sound at levels that the average human cannot. In turn, his abilities lead to the creation of an “echo box”, a device that can collect conversations from the past. Naturally, the device’s tremendous power leads to a possession battle by multiple powerful government agencies - some overt, some more of the cloak and dagger sort.
This story certainly was a fast mover and had plenty of action to keep the reader interested. However, I don’t know if it was because I was coming off of the far more cerebral and longwinded writings of Nick Harkaway, but this book struck me as lacking depth. Or perhaps, more specifically, lacking real character development (GASP! Sweet Mother of Literature - the HORROR!!).
Due to the somewhat superficial nature of the story, I was only able to capture one quote that really resonated with me, and that was in the tone setting introduction:
It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential. For success, the necessary ingredient may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, from the simply practical, an ability to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways. —Hans Asperger, 1944
Don’t get me wrong, this is a fun read and very well could end up an action movie in the near future. (Bernt’s claim to fame before this first book was screenwriting in Hollywood.) Perhaps it just needs the silver screen and a good soundtrack to get to that 4 star status. For now, I’m calling it just short at 3.5 Echoes out of 5.
Keep on Steem'n, folks!