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Reviews of PeaceMaker

Marie Jones, Reviewer, Bookideas.com

Author and obvious computer techie Dan Ronco delivers a breathtaking thriller of a story about a deadly computer virus called PeaceMaker, the decidedly evil organization behind it, and the one man who can stop it from literally crippling society as we know it.

Using tons of tech talk and great dialog peppered with realistic lingo straight from the world of software development, viruses, and artificial intelligence, Ronco introduces us first to a powerful and disturbingly enigmatic woman named Dianne Morgan, a software company CEO out for the deepest kind of revenge after being humiliated in a courtroom during an anti-trust trial. Diane is seductive, magnetic, intelligent, and utterly capable of doing anything to further her cause. This time her cause is unleashing PeaceMaker, a virus that could bring the global economy to its knees and give her own group, the Domain, the total control she desires.

Enter Ray Brown, a software expert with a few demons of his own, namely his alcoholism which has already destroyed his marriage and alienated him from his two young sons, whom he longs to be a good father to. Ray and Dianne shared a passionate relationship in the past, which now threatens to reignite as he is drawn back into her mysterious world, and when he discovers the existence of PeaceMaker, and Dianne's true motives behind it, his world becomes filled with danger and intrigue.

As Dianne and Ray struggle over control of the PeaceMaker virus, a new enemy surfaces, and soon the race to stop the deadly virus becomes even more deliberate and desperate, especially when Dianne allows the world to get a taste of what the virus can do. This book is filled with page-turning action, romance, sexuality, techno-thrills and most of all, the foreboding sense of terror that comes with too much progress. Have we gone too far with our artificial intelligence? Has our dependence upon computers made us vulnerable to the worst imaginable kinds of terrorism? This story is a fictional, but all too plausible, reminder of what can happen when our entire lives are run by machines that can be corrupted and influenced.

In the hands of those who want total global control, the effects of this virus are devastating, as we find out in the latter third of this exciting story. And in Diane's hands, Ray learns it is all about betrayal of the most horrifying kind as he realizes once and for all just what kind of a woman he is dealing with, and inexplicably drawn to. A real "all-nighter" read, filled with twists and turns, this book reminded me of another great computer virus novel, "Doomsday Virus," by Barry Silverstein. PeaceMaker has all the makings of a great franchise series, with good-hearted Ray Brown breaking open cases of corruption and techno-terrorism as he battles the bottle and tries to make good with his estranged family. I can also see this as a great movie with plenty of action and great lead roles, so producers, snap this one up soon!

Kudos to Dan Ronco for taking the world of computers and mixing it with plenty of action and thrills. The book is currently available at the publisher's website. You will never look at your computer the same again!

Joe Massucci, Author CODE:ALPHA and The Millennium Project

Dan Ronco combines his considerable knowledge of software with his love of writing to produce a fast-paced thriller about the threat of a highly intelligent computer virus in the hands of extremists bent on destroying the world's computing infrastructure. For computer geeks and Tom Clancy readers alike, PeaceMaker is hard to put down. Ronco gives us a sobering glimpse of just how vulnerable we are to "intelligent" computer viruses and the unstable personalities of those who create and unleash them. This is truly thilling material.

Piers Anthony, author of the classic XANTH series and many other novels

PeaceMaker is exciting, violent, thoughtful, and unfortunately true to life ...a powerhouse of computer adventure.

Darren Lewis, Reviewer, The Book Forum

PeaceMaker is the debut novel from Dan Ronco, and what a debut! You’ll never look at computers and technology with quite the same confidence. If you enjoy techno-thrillers, you’re going to enjoy PeaceMaker.

The year is 2012, and most of the Western World is controlled by computer technology. Mobile phones, desktop computers, power stations, alarm systems, traffic systems - they’re all controlled by computers. One major operating system dominates the market, but all this is about to change. The US government forces the corporate giant to dissolve into several smaller companies in an attempt to encourage competition and release the monopoly share. But the company’s CEO, Dianne Morgan has other ideas…

PeaceMaker is born.

Alcoholic computer guru Ray Brown is the one man who knows Dianne’s plans and must fight his own demons to destroy hers…

Written in a very clear style, the plot flows at a fast and exciting pace. Power, greed, money, sex and violence - it’s all there. The characters are strong and they develop well as the book progresses. Ray Brown is not your typical hero, but then Dianne Morgan is not your typical villain. With more twists and turns than a rollercoaster PeaceMaker kept me guessing right to the very end.

Jeanette Cottrell, Reviewer, eBook Reviews Weekly, Author of Sliding on Rainbows

Raymond Brown is the genius behind the Atlas Operating System, which transforms a computer into a sweet-voiced, intelligent friend. Dianne Morgan is the autocratic, power-hungry CEO of VantagePoint Software which owns Atlas. While Ray gives his fierce concentration to perfecting artificial intelligence, Dianne turns hers to forcing Atlas into the premier operating system of the entire world.

When an experimental robot goes mad, Ray discovers a peculiar virus deeply embedded in its software. The PeaceMaker has been proliferating throughout the Internet for years. With deep unease, Ray explores the virus, and discovers that it holds the power to shut down vital computers worldwide. Power grids will fail; traffic controllers will cease to operate; nuclear reactors will melt down, wreaking havoc with radioactive waste. Who developed the virus? Terrorists? Vengeful competitors? Or perhaps Dianne, his sometime lover, now slipping over the edge into megalomania?

Ray is a complex, driven man whose passion for work matches a passion for alcohol. His anguish over his failures with wife and sons is compelling. Dianne is more enigmatic but fascinating. Mr. Ronco's realistic dialog gives flavor and edge to his characters. The climax is taut and powerful.

PeaceMaker is reminiscent of an Alan Dean Foster technological thriller. I particularly liked the fact that Mr. Ronco's characters break the usual molds of misunderstood-heroine and hero-who- saves-the-day. Right to the very end, I never knew who would live or die, or just how far the catastrophe would extend.

Read PeaceMaker and you'll never see your computer in quite the same way again. I kept watching my laptop for smoke while I wrote this review... Mr. Ronco has a flair. I'm sure we'll see his work for years to come.

Rebecca Brown, Editor, RebeccaReads.com

In a bid for global domination, a software corporation infects the Internet with an intelligent virus.

Well, the computer doesn't do it on its own, it's got Dianne Morgan, CEO of the largest computer software company, who is one lethally-minded, childhood-warped woman with a serious itch to rule the world, by any means possible, including murder. She is surrounded by minions & moles who do her bidding (or not), with or without persuasion. & of course, there are her competitors.

Then there's Ray Brown, erstwhile drunk, colleague, husband & dad who sees his son being destroyed by his computer. As a computer engineer Ray knows this shouldn't be happening, especially since he was one of the original designers of the Atlas operating system. Now he has stumbled upon a conspiracy, & is fighting for sobriety, family, his friends & his life.

Then there's Dianne's arch-enemy who is also out to rule “da woild”, which means he's got to eliminate Dianne & her company.

For a debut thriller, PeaceMaker is quite inventive: lots of computer-speak, sex, violence & betrayals ... & a need for editing, especially in the dialogue which often turns into lectures on how computers work, & what the evil-doers are intending.

All in all, PeaceMaker is a rip-snortin' adventure set in the future when computers literally control our everyday life (as if they don't already) & what people will do (or not) for total power. I especially liked the news items with which each chapter begins. Quite well thought out & an earnest effort, more a thriller than science fiction.

Victoria Strauss, author of The Burning Land and other novels

PeaceMaker is a fast-paced and exciting speculative thriller. Dan Ronco uses his inside knowledge of the software industry to craft a chillingly plausible cautionary tale about the possible consequences of the world's growing reliance on computer technology. A truly enjoyable read.

Donald Mitchell, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer

PeaceMaker transports the action novel into a world of dueling software billionaires and operating system developers. The story has an underlying value in helping us consider the small degree by which our reliance on computers keeps out danger from our lives. Let that reliance become vulnerable to evil doers, and we are all in the soup.

Ray Brown is the hero of the book, but he's the kind of modern hero that we have all come to know . . . the man who has feet of clay but overcomes his weaknesses to do the right thing. Ray has destroyed his family through his alcoholism, sexual infidelity and obsession with software development. In his fall, he loses everything that matters to him except the software development. Then, one day he finds a bug in the operating system that he runs . . . that unexpectedly shuts his computer down.

As he begins to track down the bug, he becomes certain there's a computer virus involved. Hostile influences soon intrude to make it more difficult. As those influences grow, you will find out about a conspiracy to use a virus to obtain unlimited power.

The character development of Ray Brown is quite good. The other characters are not well developed. Many of them are caricatures of "mad scientists" and Nazi interrogators from bad 1930s movies . . . but there's a sort of campy fun as you imagine that these characters might be loosely based on some real people you've heard of. The technical details of how such a virus might work were realistic and interesting.

The writing sometimes leaves you stranded wondering what's going on . . . but you can usually pick up the thread in a few paragraphs.

Anyone who works in software will probably think this is five-star fun!

Kevin R. Tipple, Reviewer, Blue Iris Journal

The problem with technology is that when everything is turned over to computers, the computers can and do go haywire. Not just disrupting lives with minor inconveniences, but the computers can actually kill. That is the backdrop theme to this soon to be released adventure/disaster style read from author Daniel J. Ronco.

The computer system in this case is the Atlas Operating System, which is almost universally used in the very near future. Created by Ray Brown and his team from Vantage Point Software, the product has beaten all competitors. So much so, the company was a target of an anti-trust trial. A trial they ultimately lost and as a result the company was broken up into theoretically separate units. But despite the breakup, the company is still under her control of beautiful CEO Dianne Morgan, who has plans. Dianne is charming, sexually confident and aggressive, ruthless and relentless in her obsession to destroy the competition, the government, and anyone else who stupidly stands in her way.

The lovely Dianne has two motives. Not only does she want her company to succeed, but she also wants her shadowy group within and without her company, known as "The Domain", to succeed in their plans to take over the world. To do so, they will unleash a virus lurking deep within the operating system. The virus will cause a systematic shutdown of everything everywhere until her goals are met.

The virus's name is "PeaceMaker" in reference to her vision of the future under her control. But Ray Brown has discovered a form of the virus and has seen in it violent action. He intends to stop it. Initially not realizing that his lover CEO Dianne Morgan is behind it all, he sets out to destroy "PeaceMaker" and can only watch as the evolving and possibly self aware virus not only defeats his every attempt, but others are retaliated against for his actions. And while Dianne plots to take over the world, she has yet to understand that others within her group plot to oust her and use "Peacemaker" for their own nefarious purposes.

With at least three major storylines, this book shifts constantly in third person between them in this adventure/disaster style novel. As such, character development is rather limited and somewhat stereotypical of the genre. For example, Ray Brown is portrayed as a brilliant alcoholic constantly at war with his inner demon need for a stiff drink while the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Then there is the achingly beautiful Dianne Morgan who reminds one of a figure from Greek tragedy. Not only will she sleep with any man necessary to get her way, while at the pinnacle of success, she throws it all away on a quest for yet more power. And of course, what would any adventure/disaster read be without the pov of various minor characters doomed by the actions of the "PeaceMaker" virus. Some will live, some will die, and some of those deaths will be horrible as chaos ensues and society collapses.

Having said all that, for what it is in the genre, this is a pretty good book. Unlike many such novels, the focus isn't so much on the fate of the characters, but more a commentary on society, current and future, as a whole. With allusions to recent computer trials in the news, at least in the mind of this reviewer, this novel serves more as a dire warning of a future we may unwittingly be creating each day as we turn more and more control of our lives over to computer systems. While the read is enjoyable and fast, the issues this novel raises deserve serious consideration before the next power blackout or other disaster-man made or otherwise.