David Spell reviews Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan.
Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm’s breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses onto the stage, stunning the conference attendees.
Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.
Fast-paced and complex, this thriller twists and turns as it stays one step ahead of the reader. Readers will find it a heart-pounding novel that dances on the fringe of the dangers lurking within today’s modern technologies.
Jack Geddy is the CEO of Algen, a company leading the way in research for curing Alzheimer’s and various age related diseases. He is about to make a major announcement during his speech when he suddenly has a heart attack. After a lengthy recovery Jack returns to work. A competing company is threatening a hostile takeover. His company’s announcement is now weeks behind and he still isn’t feeling 100%, but Jack knows life isn’t going to wait until he feels better. The plot of Cardiac grabbed me from the first chapter. Shortly after, the initial surge of momentum slowed below the level I had hoped to see continued. There were numerous lengthy conversations filled with details about Jack’s health and personal life that distracted from the plot. These combined with the not so subtle undertone of social commentary took some effort to ignore. If it was used to better define the protagonist I didn’t see the value it added. The interactions with his wife, son and assistant at times didn’t feel quite right and at times I expected Jack, as the CEO of a major company, to be a smarter character.
I did however enjoy the multiple encounters with characters involved with the mystery surrounding his heart attack. The technology used in Cardiac is also very well-conceived and I found it really interesting as someone who loves technology. A hacker group from the dark web is blackmailing him. They have control of his pace maker and want info on an ex-employee, a man who was part of their secret group years ago. This was the focus of Cardiac and soon the initial focus of the company’s scientific discovery was forgotten. That being said the mystery was very well constructed and the pieces are well laid out and not easy to put together. I love this kind of mystery, when the author doesn’t make it painfully obvious what is going on. The story for Cardiac is pretty solid, but there were a few holes in the plot and I found the characters a bit soft and under developed. Overall this is a pretty good story if you’re not overly critical of the details.