Thursday, August 8, 2013

Repeat Performance with Michael F. Stewart

Michael F. Stewart is once again joining us with his follow-up novel  to Assured Destruction.  I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing this prior work earlier in the year and jumped on the opportunity to read the second in the series Assured Destruction: Script Kiddie.  If you don't remember, I enjoyed the first in this YA series, even though my technologically challenged brain had a little difficulty keeping up with some of the protagonist's computer ease.  So let's get down to brass tacks and take a peek at Script Kiddie.

Book Summary:
Jan Rose no longer steals data from the old computers she recycles. She doesn't need to. As the newest member of the police department’s High Tech Crime Unit, the laptop of a murderer has landed on her desk. Her job: to profile and expose a killer.

But that’s not all.

A creep lurks in the shadows, stalking a friend, and Jan must stop him before the hunt turns deadly. The clock counts down for Jan to save her friend, her job, her boyfriend—maybe even her life.

My Review:
Script Kiddie starts off shortly after the events from the first book - and quickly we see the crap hits the fan for our protagonist, Janus Rose (I still like that name).  She's sporting a cast on her leg, crutches in order to get around, still having little time to take care of everything in her day (namely schoolwork, her family business, and the new boyfriend), and then there is the matter of penance for her crimes.

Yes, the police department has taken her on as her community service requirement.  Jan is now placed with the cyber crimes division.  Problem is, none of the other officers want her around.  After she's given an assignment to "prove" her mettle, she discovers it was all a ruse.  But the computer she's asked to profile is what gets the blood flowing (and in real life, heads would roll).

Then there is still the matter with her ailing mother and the strange, old boyfriend her mom decided to start seeing from AD.  Peter is still an enigma to Jan.  She's not sure who he really is and whether or not he's trustworthy.

Next throw in a quasi-irritant from the first book, who is stupid enough to post naked pictures to get involved with a cyber romance and finds herself stalked by a middle-aged sexual predator.  Who does she run to for help?  You guessed it - Jan.

Janus has changed alot from the first story.  Circumstances have humbled her and with too much to deal with, nothing gets accomplished.  She's no longer the hip, super-smart chic who knows it from AD - and I'm not yet sure how I feel about that.  I understand she's gotten in way over her head, but I rather missed the sharp wit and self-assured young lady from book one.  It felt almost as if too much was going on at times so that no one thing got enough focus in the storyline, almost like what happened to the movie Spiderman 3.

The only other thing that just seemed too unrealistic was the final big scene where the bad guy gets his comeuppance.  Just seemed unreal for a young teen with a broken leg and several other injuries at this point to get the upper hand of a large, angry man.  But the fact that Jan was willing to go the extra mile for a disturbed friend does lend her that dose of heroism for our main character.

Even with these issues, I found Script Kiddie to be a good, fast read.  The scene where she tries to drive with her cast is absolutely hilarious.  The fact that the student body clapped for her after this (at least she thinks that's what it's for) makes it even funnier. 

I also found the aspect of her being accused of changing the grades for the entire student body a good kink in Jan's armor.  Who wouldn't suspect her after all she's proven capable of in the past?  Proving she didn't, however, is a task even she's not sure she's up to.  This throws her to trust Peter, her mom's aged boyfriend.

And once again, I found Peter to be a good "red herring" character at times.  I like the fact that Jan's still not sure exactly who he is and what he's really up to - and why he's appearing to try and help her with her cyber investigations.  He tends to keep the story in a state of flux, never sure if he wears a white hat or black.

And I like that!

So check out Assured Destruction: Script Kiddie near the end of August 2013 for the teen audience or the youth within yourself.

And don't forget to sign up for the giveaway below:

Author Bio:
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.  Check out his website at

Formats: paperback & ebook
Release: August 2013
Pages: 156
ISBN: 9780981269979
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press

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  1. Changing grades? Jan? Get out of town! LOL

    Loved your review, D A :)

  2. I know! That was a good stressor to throw in there for her. Really liked that aspect. Thanks, Nicole!