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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Buzz

by
Anders de la Motte


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

To purchase Buzz



Title: Buzz
Author: Anders de la Motte
Genre: Novel
Written: 2011 (Eng. 2014)
Length: 469 pages
Original in: Swedish
Availability: Buzz - US
Buzz - UK
Buzz - Canada
Buzz - India
Buzz - France
Hype - Deutschland
  • Swedish title: Buzz
  • Translated by Neil Smith
  • Book 2 of the Game trilogy

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Our Assessment:

B- : good basic idea, but the action much too forced

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 21/10/2013 .


  From the Reviews:
  • "As the dual story lines pinball off one another, the author, an IT security consultant, provides an insiderís peek at stealth corporate manipulation of social media while maximizing the rush of this heady, hallucinatory trip." - Publishers Weekly

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:

       Buzz continues the adventures of thirty-one year old Henrik 'HP' Pettersson. In Game he found himself a pawn in an elaborate and very well-orchestrated game that was far more serious than he initially realized. At the end of that novel he had, he figured, more or less extricated himself from it -- with a big wad of cash. While still watching his back -- traveling under assumed identities, and staying away from Sweden -- HP can live in comfort and indulge most of his wishes. But, after not too long a time, he realizes he's not really satisfied:

     Because even though he had pretty much everything your average Swede could ever want -- money, freedom, and the bare minimum of responsibility -- the bitter truth was that the only thing he really wanted was what he couldn't have.
     To be HP again -- correction, the new, improved HP -- back in his own tiny little duck pond.
       Of course, things look a lot worse when he tags along with some new-found friends in Dubai and finds himself framed for murder .....
       Like Game, Buzz switches back and forth in rapid short bursts between what's happening to HP and what his sister, Rebecca Normén, is doing. Her adventures start with an assignment protecting the Swedish minister for international development on a visit to Darfur, in Sudan. An important meeting goes wrong and Rebecca is blamed for handling the situation badly; she, too, has been set up, but finds there's little she can do beyond trying to figure out who was behind this; for essentially the entire novel she is then, however, suspended from duty and left to her own devices. A campaign against her, online and off, serves as a constant irritant and reminder that someone is out to get her.
       HP beats the charges in Dubai, but when he's shipped back to Sweden by the authorities decides to take a closer look at the company the woman he was accused of killing, Anna Argos, was involved with. HP has a tendency to see the long reach of the Game in nearly everything, but here it looks like he may be closer to the mark.
       Anna owned forty per cent of ArgosEye, which her former husband, Philip, runs. They have an interesting business model:
ArgosEye has chosen to focus primarily on questions of Internet-related communications risk and crisis management, popularly known as "Buzz control"
       One of their basic techniques is try to game and influence public opinion by planting stories on message boards and social media, and trying to ensure that when people search for information about any of their customers the search results will return links that provide exactly the image the customer wants. HP gets himself hired on and learns the inside workings of this dirty trade, trolling on message boards and the like -- a fun and all too plausible business line in these times.
       Of course, the Game seems to lurk somewhere in the background, as HP can't help but feel there must be some connection to ArgosEye -- indeed, ArgosEye would be the perfect organization to help keep the Game out of the public eye -- and both HP and his sister of course find themselves in ever deeper water as they come closer to the truth. Their story-lines again converge -- though they do a spectacularly poor job of coördinating their activities once they do -- and much again threatens to spin out of control.
       The ideas in Buzz, and especially the workings of ArgosEye, are pretty good, but too much of the action here feels like its sole purpose is to serve the ideas, and de la Motte often doesn't find a neat fit. Far-fetched though it was, the suspense in Game was fairly convincing; in Buzz it is far less so. What Rebecca deals with online and off, in particular, feels quite forced, while the ArgosEye villain, Philip is drawn much too simply and cartoonishly. The back and forth switches in the narrative also don't work quite as well as they did in Game.
       The ideas behind Buzz are good -- as part of the larger story, too -- and the novel does end promisingly, setting the stage for the conclusion of the trilogy with a few nice unexpected twists. But other than that Buzz itself feels just like a bridge-novel, of middling suspense and half-baked adventures -- quite a letdown from Game.

- M.A.Orthofer, 24 June 2014

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Links:

Buzz: Reviews: Other books by Anders de la Motte under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Swedish author Anders de la Motte was born in 1971.

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© 2014 the complete review

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