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Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite
Shiny New Swindle (Cyberpunk Outlaws Book 1) by Simon Cantan is a non-stop science fiction action story about four hackers who are framed for a series of politically-related murders. Told from the perspective of Chris Noonan, the hackers are forced underground, both literally and figuratively, in order to avoid arrest. When Chris’ mom is kidnapped, the group has no choice but to resurface and take drastic actions to save her life, clear their names, and stop the villain.
Shiny New Swindle is a fun read filled with likeable characters. In Cantan’s vision of the future, people are hardwired with ReadyNet technology, which makes sharing hacks, viewing the news, and communicating with friends hands-free functions that take commands directly from the brain. While some of Simon Cantan’s futuristic visions border on cartoonish, the author doesn’t give you much time to dwell on how practical some of his plot devices really are. The banter among the friends is realistic, and the addition of humor is much appreciated. Many of the on-the-spot fixes are reminiscent of an old McGyver TV episode from the '80s where a pen, a paperclip, and a piece of chewing gum would be combined to make a machine gun.
I like that Cantan doesn’t take his story or his characters too seriously and focuses his talents on entertaining the reader. While the story is tech heavy, he avoids trying to teach the reader how each doohickey works and he does it in such a way that I didn’t feel like I really missed anything important.