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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



De macht van meneer Miller

by
Charles den Tex


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author



Title: De macht van meneer Miller
Author: Charles den Tex
Genre: Novel
Written: 2005
Length: 392 pages
Original in: Dutch
Availability: Die Macht des Mr. Miller - Deutschland
  • De macht van meneer Miller has not yet been translated into English

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Our Assessment:

B- : reasonably entertaining, but ultimately too simplistic and overblown

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Der Spiegel . 31/5/2007 Tobias Gohlis


  From the Reviews:
  • "Das ist alles flüssig und psychologisch spannend erzählt und ergibt viele nette Nebenaspekte. Doch das, was Bellicher auf seiner Flucht vor den Killern im Geschäftsanzug entdeckt, macht die eigentliche Sensation des Buches aus." - Tobias Gohlis, Der Spiegel

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       De macht van meneer Miller is narrated by Michael Bellicher, a management consultant at mega-firm HC&P, specializing in communications. He's doing well at his job, with some high-profile clients, but his world comes crashing down on him when he goes to the airport with his parents to pick up his brother, Kees, whom he hasn't seen or heard from in years. When he finally comes to face to face with his brother he actually keels over in a dead faint; the reason for his shocked reaction is something that he can only bring himself to reveal quite a bit later. Instead of the happy family reunion Michael stays behind and then goes home and drinks himself silly. So silly that he misses work and blows off vital appointments -- a major no-no at HC&P.
       Michael knows he's in trouble when he drags himself back to the office, and he is desperate to save his own skin. He knows he needs to land a big client, at the very least, to hold onto his job -- and, just in case, he actually stays in the office building all night, so that he can't find himself barred from entering the next morning (a popular technique of dealing with no-longer-wanted employees). When he gets up in the middle of the night to use the toilet he literally trips over a corpse; he just has enough time to I.D. the victim before the men who murdered the woman come back to collect the body.
       It isn't long before the body is found, and Michael is the prime and only suspect: HC&P is a super-wired hi-tech company, and the computerized ID cards used by employees to gain access to the building show he and the dead woman were the only ones on the premises when the murder took place (aside from the security guards). Michael, of course, knows otherwise -- and he can even identify one of the men involved. Soon enough, he's on the run -- desperate to prove his innocence (and figure out why the woman was murdered).
       It takes a while for him to realize that he's stumbled into something much bigger than just a murder. For one, there's that huge computer program that was on the murder victim's computer, which, when he finally manages to open it, leads to a 'Mister Miller's house'. And Michael finds that people are on his trail, and able to pinpoint his location with alarming speed -- not the police, but the woman's murderers. And they are not nice people.
       Michael realizes he's a very small annoyance to some powerful people involved in a very, very large conspiracy -- a world wide web-embracing conspiracy, in fact. When he's connected to the internet, they're on him more less in a flash. Indeed, they seem to have managed to seize control of everything connected to the internet, a shadow network operating undetected behind the scenes that is able to locate users and access any data. Significantly, they're also able to overwrite data, changing the facts to fit their political agenda (because that is what this is also about)
       Michael manages to stay on the run, despite a few (too many) close encounters and clashes; somewhat surprisingly, he finds quite a few people willing to help him out (though one or two people very close to him aren't beyond selling him out). Over the internet he manages to contact the South African relatives of the man behind much of this, and family honor dictates that they do what they have to, which eventually proves very useful. Other computer-experts also prove helpful, though the big showdown is a rather silly final confrontation.
       Den Tex has some interesting ideas: the shadow-net on the internet, in particular, is a clever and nicely sinister idea, though it's rather unlikely that the key to how it is achieved (having to do with computer-manufacturer Datwell, the market-dominating firm that undercuts everyone else) would have remained undiscovered for very long (yeah, like every competitor wouldn't have stripped these machines to the last wire in trying to figure out how they could sell these so cheap ...).
       De macht van meneer Miller moves along fast enough, though over some 400 pages the constant near-escapes can get tiresome. What really bogs it down, however, is that there's just too much here that is too far-fetched and unrealistic, and too much of that zipped over just as fast as the action-scenes (presumably in an attempt to keep readers from thinking too hard about any of this). Den Tex has some fun with workplace dynamics and -- himself once a management consultant -- the peculiar pseudo-profession that is management consultancy, but otherwise he rides his one big, decent idea (that shadow-internet) without sufficient supporting material. Michael's family issues are an interesting attempt at adding some depth to the character and novel, but it feels too forced -- and isn't helped by the fact that Michael doesn't reveal what exactly upset him so for the longest time.
       Quick, easy reading, De macht van meneer Miller can pass as the simplest of pass-time reading. It offers a few decent thrills, but this is techno-fluff of the most undemanding sort.

- M.A.Orthofer, 14 September 2010

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Links:

De macht van meneer Miller: Reviews: Charles den Tex: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Dutch literature at the complete review

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About the Author:

       Dutch author Charles den Tex was born in Australia in 1952.

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© 2010 the complete review

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