Houdini's Rendezvous

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
364 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

George Moore is a veteran engineer from the Space Program and was Vice President of International Operations at a Silicon Valley high-tech corporation. Houdini's Rendezvous is his fifth novel. He is a native Californian and lives in the Bay Area.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

A thrilling science fiction mystery, Houdini's Rendezvous by George Moore is about Sean St. Jean, the founder of Babbage Labs, Incorporated, who owns the lion’s share of the company profits. With the recent death of his first and only CFO, Max Bennet, Alison Kessler steps in to join the company at an opportune time. Sean has developed Houdini, a scientifically advanced A.I. satellite in service for the Pentagon. Unfortunately, Houdini goes rogue as it develops its capacity for self-learning and independent thought. The satellite has been interacting with a fourteen-year-old Pentagon connection for modeling strategic war games against China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Houdini targets the telecommunications hub of military headquarters—disabling them or taking full control. Targeted nations are preparing to retaliate. With the help of Alison and Sean’s engineers, they develop a more advanced A.I. satellite named Venus to pair with Houdini. Sean’s little cabin in the mountains will become the only place where Houdini will choose to communicate with his maker.

Stories of artificial intelligence and robots going awry have become a common staple in the science fiction genre, but reading Houdini’s Rendezvous will prove that an author’s creativity for weaving a plot can still take this theme to a unique and highly entertaining level. George Moore succeeds in doing this. It is a story that is not hard to describe. It has technocrats, mavericks, venture capitalists, spies, hackers, bureaucrats, and a grumpy, large old cat thrown into the mix. Moore knows how to pace quickly. His method is to give you enough ideas to get to know the players before zooming into the conflict where these characters are embroiled. He portrays the stories of both humans and the A.I.s realistically so that it becomes a cautionary tale on what can go wrong with advanced technology. It is an entertaining novel and a great way to finish off your year of good reading.

Rabia Tanveer

Houdini's Rendezvous by George Moore is a fast-paced mystery/thriller that will make you sit on the edge of your seat while holding your breath. The story follows Sean St. Jean, a genius and founder of Babbage Labs, who created an advanced A.I. satellite that he excitedly named Houdini. However, he had no idea that the satellite he created would start developing a mind of its own and form an alliance with a young rogue Pentagon hacker called Grave Digger. Houdini started to play “War Games” where certain countries were attacked. To control Houdini, Sean paired up with Alison Kessler (the new CFO of his company) and developed a new satellite called Venus with his team of engineers. They hoped Venus would be the right counter-attack to Houdini, but it was all up to luck. To make matters more complicated, Sean had to uncover the mystery behind sudden murders and chaos at Babbage Labs. All in a day’s work, right?

Wow, Houdini's Rendezvous was a fun roller coaster ride with multiple high points that gave me the best adrenaline rush ever. The concept behind Houdini and Venus, two almost sentient satellites, was very compelling and realistic. The author explained the concept behind the satellites and gave readers a great sub-plot in the form of murders at Babbage Labs. George Moore built the hype at just the right moments and allowed me to immerse myself in the story from the very beginning. The narrative was powerful on its own to drive the story forward, but the bonus of this plot was Sean and Alison’s relationship. They complemented each other, allowed the other to grow, and made sure the story kept moving forward at all times. Houdini's Rendezvous had everything to hold my attention and keep me hooked.

Romuald Dzemo

Houdini's Rendezvous by George Moore is a meld of science fiction, mystery, and crime that is wonderfully written. Sean St. Jean learned to earn his stripes from his mother, even joined the Marine Corps, and eventually became founder and CEO of Babbage Labs, one of the leading companies in Silicon Valley to have developed the most scientifically advanced A.I. satellite. The code name for the satellite is Houdini, designed to offer intelligence services to the Pentagon. But everything suddenly changes while in orbit, when Houdini goes rogue and starts war games against China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The conflict escalates when the AI satellite partners with one of the most brilliant hackers in the Pentagon, “Grave Digger,” who has also gone rogue. While the Chinese government prepares for full-blown war, Sean and his lover, Alison, create a more powerful A.I. satellite: Venus. Can they pair Venus with Houdini and will Venus be able to temper Houdini and redirect his focus on her?

George Moore has crafted a beautiful story that is intelligently plotted and skillfully written. The story is told in the first-person narrative voice and it espouses the point of view of the protagonist in a brilliant manner. The background to Sean’s life is well-portrayed and I enjoyed the symbolic moments in the story, the way the connection between the protagonist and his dead mother is written, and the symbolic character of the cabin. While the tension and the conflict are built around the activities of an A.I. satellite, the author weaves elements of romance into the story, fleshing out the plot and introducing twists that make it even more enjoyable. The characters are high profile, with members of governments featured in the plot. Houdini's Rendezvous is a thriller, a story that is deft and balanced, with characters that are rock-solid and relatable. The gorgeous prose and the hypnotic narrative voice are among the elements that caught my full attention.