cover image The Cloud

The Cloud

Matt Richtel. Harper, $8.99 mass market (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-199970-3

Richtel's exciting third novel featuring Nathaniel "Nat" Idle (after Devil's Plaything) finds the San Francisco reporter literally shoved into an investigation that explores the ramifications of the vast technological changes being wrought by the ways data can be manipulated, presented, and stored in the Cloud. While Idle is waiting for a subway train, an apparently drunken stranger knocks him down on the platform before stumbling off, leaving Idle with a cracked head. The man drops a piece of paper with Idle's name on it and that of Sandy Vello. A concussed Idle quizzes a helpful witness, Googles Vello, and finds a recent obituary, with links to PRISM Corp. and juvenile prison Twin Peaks. In his quest for answers, Idle finds himself trailed both physically and electronically, assaulted and concussed again, and led into a technological world of marvels and horrors. Richtel's woozy hero, often unsure what is real and what imagined, is an appropriate guide through this frightening, well-envisioned Cloud of the future. (Feb.)