By Anders de la Motte
Rating: 4 and a 1/2 out of 5 stars
Buzz is the second volume of Swedish author Anders de la Motte's Game trilogy and is due to be published in the US in January of 2014. The Game trilogy involves Henrik “HP” Pettersson and his sister Rebecca's struggle against the conspiratorial workings of something called The Game. In the first book, we learned that a seemingly innocent, if slightly illegal, contest of internet and real life pranks has a much larger and dangerous agenda. In this second installment, HP is on the run from the Game Master and find himself the main suspect in a woman's murder. This leads him to his own investigation which opens up new insights on the Game and the mysterious Game Master. At the same time, Rebecca is leading a police security squad in Darfur and finds herself embroiled in an investigation that may cost the loss of her job or even imprisonment.
Of course their problems intersect and HP manages to be right in the middle of major Game activity. Buzz is more complex than the the first book titled Game, which is no small feat. It takes a program to figure out all the players but, with some attentive reading, it shouldn't be too hard. Some readers found this book too "chaotic." I found it just right. The translation issues regarding odd sentences and language that I found troubling in the first book, were nonexistent in this one. In fact, the language and narrative flowed much better throughout the entire story. The flip-flop of narration POV from HP to Rebecca was still fast and furious but I must have gotten used to it as I found it helped the fast action of the tale this time around. However the new reader should insure himself against mental whiplash.
The best part of this book is how the author used the social networking of the internet as part of the plot. He brings forward a less favorable internet world involving fake trolls, well-organized and disguised PR, and cyber-bullying. I've read other thrillers that used the technology of the internet as part of its plot before but Buzz does it better than any I've read. HP is still a likable character even with his selfishness and slacker ways while Rebecca continues to play super-ego to HP's id. I liked the way the story moved in this second book better than the first and the author made sure we still had plenty of mysteries to solve in the nest installment. It's no spoiler to say this is basically a conspiracy novel. I did find it quite amusing that, even though it was originally published in Sweden in 2011, some of the issues in the plot become suspiciously close to issues in the recent 2013 NSA eavesdropping scandal here in the USA. It's 3 AM in the morning. Do you know where your e-mail is?
The Game Trilogy continues to be one of the best tech thrillers currently around. I received review copies of the American publications of all three volumes from Simon & Shuster, with Game to be released in December, 2013, Buzz to be released in January of 2014, and Bubble in March, 2014.
Since it was slightly better from the 4-star Game, I'll have to give this one four and a half stars. We're not quite in five star territory yet. We'll see what happens with the third and final book, Bubble which I be reading next very soon. I'm hooked.