Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review of "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson

New York resident Cayce Pollard is a marketing consultant who instinctively knows what the public will find 'cool'. Cayce is also a follower of a website called 'Fetish Footage Forum' (FFF) where mysterious film clips - periodically published online - are discussed and analyzed by large numbers of people around the world. As the story opens in August, 2002 Cayce is in London, having been hired by the 'Blue Ant' company to evaluate a proposed new shoe logo.

At a meeting with Hubertus Bigend - Blue Ant's boss, and Dorotea Benedetti - representative of the logo's designer, Cayce nixes the proposed logo. She also senses huge antagonism from Dorotea, a woman she's just met. Soon afterward someone breaks into the London apartment where Cayce is staying, making her feel nervous and paranoid.

These unexplained occurrences remind Cayce of her missing father, Win Pollard, an intelligence agent who disappeared on September 11, 2001, when planes flew into the World Trade Center. Cayce and her mother have done all they can to find Win, with no success.

After Cayce okays a second proposed shoe logo, Hubertus hires her to find the makers of the inscrutable film footage on FFF. He apparently has a scheme to use the film clips to make money. Cayce reluctantly agrees to work with Hubertus, and during her search for the filmmaker Cayce meets an array of interesting people and travels between London, Japan and Russia. Everywhere she goes, however, Cayce senses she's being followed, which seems to be proven when she's attacked in the street.

The book is chock full of engaging characters, starting with Cayce - who's 'allergic' to logos and cuts the labels off all her clothing and possessions. Other interesting characters include several FFF analysts, fetishists of old technology, a computer whiz who's supposed to help Cayce find the filmmaker, and more.

I enjoyed the book which essentially reads like a thriller, as Cayce rushes here and there to discover something that unknown (and hostile) 'others' also want to know. All this leads to an exciting and believable climax. Very good book, highly recommended.

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