Find the Needle, Part 1: Diary of a Digital Outlaw. Copyright by 514 Entertainment, Inc. written by Frank Perrotto.
The protagonist is an AI video game character functioning in California as an Estonian immigrant member of an Eastern Mob, the leader of which is his former immigrant buddie. The story evolves with Dmitry suffering from increasing frustrations heaped upon underlying but vaguely unformed thoughts on morality, a vaguely remembered life-threatening childhood event, his mother’s development of cancer that requires extensive and expensive therapy, and an ununderstood dissatisfaction with his life in general. The fast paced tale moves rapidly toward a finale that prepares the reader for Part II.
Discussion: The author has set forth a well-written description of an AI character set in California as a human with acquired street-wise intelligence and little education who is attempting to exist within a life situation that he finds to be totally confusing. For this reader it is difficult to discern whether the supportive characters of his sister, as well as his mother, girlfriend and his boss and associates, each with his/her own unpleasant and interrelated life situations are of similar origin. In the author’s preface he explains that this most unusual story is in itself of an experimental nature and is the first in a projected series of three following the life of Dmitry, who is the subject of an A.I. video game living in a digital environment. As a reader totally unfamiliar with video games but aware of AI, its present limitations and attempts at further development, I am sure I have missed some significant aspects of this novel. However, as a fast-paced thriller centered in a seamier part of society, the story explores interesting aspects of individuals with the described deficiencies who might be caught in similar circumstances. As such, at least to this reader, the tale explores the thought processes of humans of lesser intelligence with minimal education and the vagaries of thought and frustrations they constantly must endure. Thus from this perspective, the author’s experiment appears to be highly successful. A caveat is required in that more sensitive readers should be aware that the language employed often is explicitly raw but typical for the level of individuals described.
5* Interesting thriller as the author’s ‘experiment’ appears successful.