Release: August 12, 2012
Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, his father Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you.DiSemblance was a first of many things for me: my first review request, my first self-published book, and my first techno-thriller (I hadn't even known that this existed as a sub-genre.) Because it had so much riding on it, at least for me, this book needed to set a precedent. Luckily, it was a pretty good one.
Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.
Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.
DiSemblance is, first and foremost, marketed as a thriller. While some scenes may have readers on the edge of their seats, my interest in the plot was more muted. I didn't get the constant rush of adrenaline I had expected, but this was not a bad thing. I think the fact that much of the life-or-death action takes place in a technologically advanced hologram machine is what made me have a more intellectual curiosity about what will happen next as opposed to the pure suspense I may have felt had Jason's problems been more tangible. I actually enjoyed this kind of suspense more than the traditional sort I was expecting.
This book is also a story that revolves around computers and technology. One of my favorite things about DiSemblance was how well the author wrote about the hologram machine. An idea like this could so easily come off as cheesy or fake, but, through technical descriptions and scenes that take place inside the machine, Branham managed to make this new invention seem entirely real.
On the flip side of that, this novel has some good interpersonal relations subplots. I loved reading about how his father's invention had prevented Jason from forging relationships with people outside of his family, including Boston, his romantic interest. Each main character has some kind of family or relationship problem that nicely sets off the high-tech backdrop of this story.
I really liked what was written in this story, so my only real complaint is how it was written. The writing wasn't terrible, but the many short sentences gave the narration a slightly choppy feel. I felt like some could have been combined, which would have made the book flow much more smoothly.
Despite this, DiSemblance is a solid story with plenty of action and excitement. Shanae Branham is a budding author to watch, and it will be intriguing to see where she goes next!