Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Michael F. Stewart - Assured Destruction - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

My Review

Props to Michael F. Stewart for the duality of his book title. Assured Destruction isn't just a catchy turn of phrase, it's the central location of the story. It's the name of the computer shop where Janus works, that's owned by her mother. They live in the converted warehouse because Janus' mom is handicapped and her wheelchair requires a home with elevator access. They don't have much choice. Janus' father leaves them high and dry, and they have to make ends meet the best they can. Living where they work cuts back on their expenses. Janus measures the money their customers bring in with whether or not they'll be able to order a pizza for dinner. Things are that tight.

However, covering daily shifts in the shop doesn't leave much time for Janus' social life. Instead, she spends hours in the basement with her imaginary online friends. Her small town life in Ottawa, Canada bores the hell out of her. She even calls it 'the place fun forgot.' In order to liven things up, we follow her through the novel as she takes a journey across the city. She ditches school and sprays paints graffiti  at the Underpass. She calls in an anonymous tip and follows a police cruiser through the intermittent traffic lights of downtown. She hits the suburbs sitting on the curb in front of the house of the boy who likes her in order to crack his wireless network. She definitely gets around.

Stewart's story focuses more on the intangible, the internal dialogue in Janus' head and the interconnected circuitry of the digital age, but when it steps into reality the locales pop with the authenticity of a mid-size North American city in the twenty-first century. The clash of settings show the growing disconnect between the actual and the virtual. A problem that's powerfully explored in this innovative work of fiction.


Assured Destruction can be purchased at:
Amazon (paperback), Kindle

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 185
ISBN: 9780981269948
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Release: March 22, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

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.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the great review! If anyone has any questions, I'm here all day to answer.

  2. Victoria, thanks for the review. Glad you enjoyed Michael's take on the virtual vs. the actual.