If you stop to really think about it, it’s amazing how books find readers, since the ocean is filled with more than 200,000 books produced each year, and this ocean is constantly expanding, a black hole of pages and kilobytes produced for what the author hopes is mass consumption. While it’s not a grand tale, I discovered THE CLOUD through an online ad that I caught out of the corner of my eye, the cover being my first introduction to this fine tale, sampled the first several paragraphs, and then noticed a smattering of reviews. All of this piqued my curiosity, led to an impulse purchase on my Kindle, and now this review.
Why do I tell you this? Because it happens on occasion to me (I’ve never met a book that I wasn’t willing to give a chance, and I have no problem stepping out from the pack), but it’s rare when that connection works just perfectly, like the universe dropped a book into the market just for me. This was one of those books, and yet as certain as I am of this, it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why.
I can be a bit of a sucker for first person novels. I love the immediacy and stepping right into the shoes of the main character and walking around for miles and miles until we reach some sort of destination. This novel afforded me this wonderful opportunity, and I have to admit I became rather fond of Nat Idle, even if he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and stumbled around like a drunken sailor for much of this tale, forcing me to sometimes question my own equilibrium and state of sobriety, despite tea being my strongest drink as of late.
This novel bends genres, defies conventions, marches to the beat of its own drummer, or feel free to insert your favorite descriptive phrase. It could easily be classified as a mystery, although the mysterious deaths aren’t really the primary focus for Nat, or it could just as easily be classified as a thriller, although it’s not written from multiple points of view, and there’s no real ticking clock. But THE CLOUD is a novel I didn’t want to end, it’s a novel I couldn’t put down, and it’s a novel where the voice carried me home, cheering me on every step of the way.
Character growth isn’t normally a focus of thrillers, and yet I felt Nat grow as a character, as a person, and as a man, and his relationship with Faith added heart to a novel that might have otherwise been a bit lacking, since this tale ends up being driven by technology and the chase to discover the truth. It’s a chase that kept me flipping pages, as fast as my brain could carry me, as I savored every moment of this thrilling read.
Matt Richtel isn’t a new author, but he’s new to me, and I look forward to checking out more of his tales. If you’re smart, you might want to do the same as well.