Cyberstorm - Matthew Mather

Released March 2013

Matthew Mather

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

There's been a lot of talk about the new book by Matthew Mather, Cyberstorm. I'm not a huge techie, though my son is, and by default I hear him talk about his college courses where they are learning to "out hack the hackers." I know the dangers of computer hacking, and I also know there are some benefits to teaching hacking at the same time.

Cyberstorm poses a "what if" situation. Mike Mitchell has the same problems as many people. His in-laws aren't fond of him, his wife seems distant and he fears she's having an affair, but at the same time, he has a lot going right. He adores his toddler, he has great friends, and he lives in the heart of New York City. Things take a drastic turn for the worst when a cyber attack shuts down the Internet. With no power, no water, and dwindling food supplies, all in the heart of the Northeast's largest snowstorm, Mike, his family, and his neighbors struggle to survive.

I live in New England. We survived the Ice Storm of 1998. Thankfully, we had a wood stove for heat, but four days without power, when you're on a well and couldn't flush toilets or run water, was challenging. Getting out the driveway was hard enough, but getting down the road past fallen trees and downed power lines was impossible. That was just four days, and Internet wasn't as huge then as it is now.

When we lost power a few years ago after a massive thunderstorm, my teens were at a loss. Without access to their email and instant messengers, they simply couldn't figure out what to do with themselves, and all the board games in the world only kept them occupied for so long during those two days. That also made Cyberstorm very believable.

I fully understood Mike's issues, and it made me really like him. In fact, the characters were the driving force behind this book. The story line certainly held my attention, but I couldn't stop reading because I needed to know if things worked out for Mike and his family.

Cyberstorm is food for thought. If an event of that nature did hit the U.S., how prepared are you really?


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