Hooked Review
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As he sips a mocha in a San Francisco café, Nat Idle looks up from the book he’s reading in time to see a woman slip a piece of paper on his table. Nat sees it as a sign—that maybe his luck is finally changing. But little does he know that it’s going from bad to worse. As the woman drives away, Nat stands outside and reads the note, instructing him to leave the café. And just as he stops to realize that the note is in his dead girlfriend’s handwriting, the café explodes.

It’s been four years since Annie slid off her sailboat and drowned—but Nat’s been obsessively mourning her ever since. And now that he’s seen the note, he’s obsessively trying to track her down. The med-student-turned-journalist is convinced that the café explosion was no accident—and if he can figure out why someone would blow up the café, he’s sure it will lead him to some answers about the possibly-not-actually-dead love of his life.

With the help of one of the cops who investigated the explosion, Nat manages to find Erin Coultran, a waitress from the café who somehow escaped unharmed. Erin, too, is haunted by the mysterious death of someone she cared about—and the two decide to work together, to search for answers. But it seems that wherever Erin and Nat go, fires and explosions are sure to follow.

Hooked is a chilling techno-thriller that’s guaranteed to make you just the teensiest bit paranoid. It jumps right into the action right away, and it keeps the story coming—in intentionally short chapters that compel you to read just one more. It’s a sneaky trick, but it works. It won’t be long before you’re…well…hooked.

Of course, the story isn’t without its share of flaws. The characterization isn’t always solid, and the heavy suspense is occasionally broken by somewhat distracting flashbacks about Nat’s relationship with Annie. But the story moves along as a swift pace, thick with tension and anticipation. And the more the mystery unfolds, the creepier it is. At the same time, though, it’s also a light and entertaining read—the perfect summertime read for the electronically obsessed.

Richtel clearly understands today’s addiction to technology—and the need to be constantly connected—not to mention the effect it has on our lives and our behavior. And once you finish reading this engaging thriller, you’ll think twice about your relationships—whether with people or with devices. You may never look at your computer the same way again.

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