If you are looking for a decently written mystery/thriller book that has some unique technology but can be predicable at times, “Death of Secrets” may be one you will want to pick up and have a listen. The book is written by Bowen Greenwood and the audible narration is performed by Alexander Edward Trefethen. I picked up the book based on the publisher’s summary information and because I am in the technology industry. These two things piqued my interest to see what would unfold. Overall I was not disappointed by the book, but at the same time I was not enthralled with it either. The story kept me interested and I listened to the end, but it did not keep me riveted to my seat while listening either.
I found the book to be somewhat weak on its research or detail around computer security, technology, and the hacker community. Details involving these areas of subject were presented more at a high-level and not something you may find in a Crichton or Clancy novel. Although I very much liked the concept of the technology covered in the book, I felt there was not enough time spent on how it worked. I felt the encryption and decryption aspects were more on the level of Sneakers than what exists today. If you can suspend some level of belief, and just enjoy the book as a piece of thriller fiction, it was enjoyable; but somewhat predictable.
I thought the author’s ability to create the main character’s backstories and his descriptive scene setup was what kept me listening. I found myself becoming less interested in the technology which the book was written around and instead focused on how the characters would get out of their predicaments. As with the book, the writing itself was typical from other books I have listened to in the genre. It also had many of the standard mystery/thriller tropes you would expect. I will say that I was happy to have an author who did not throw in a bunch of vulgar language or graphic violence to add a level of shock value to the book. It is becoming more and more difficult to find a rather clean mystery/thriller book. I would feel rather comfortable recommending this book to younger readers if they were interested.
I will say that I enjoyed the books narration by Mr. Trefethen. He has a deep, rich, and full voice that worked well for this type of book. I have not listened to anything other by this narrator, so it is difficult to say how well he does with other works. The quality of the audio was very well done for a recording that was done back in 2014. The volume was consistent and there were no observed audio artifacts I can recall. The narrator, at the time of this review, has 38 books narrated on Audible with nearly half of them in the SciFi genre. I will have to listen to a few other pieces of his work in the future.
At the end of the audio edition, the author announces a second book in this series can be found called “Life of Secrets” (published in 2014). There is even a sample chapter at the end of this book’s audio. However, I was unable to locate the second book in audio format on Audible when searching for the title or other works published by the author. Audible only shows that the author has released a single book in audiobook format.
In summary, if you like mysteries that are not overly technical, you may enjoy “Death of Secrets”. If you are someone who loves deeply technical and in the weeds technology stories, I think it would be best to pick up something different.