Book Review–Gridiron

I’ve just finished the second book from the gifts I received at Christmas (though I somehow missed this off the original post!). I’d completely forgotten I’d added it to my Amazon wish list so it was a great surprise, especially when I discovered it’s out of print so I appreciated the effort taken to track it down.

The title of the book comes from a high tech building nicknamed “The Gridiron”. The book was originally published in 1995 and a lot of the technology described within would be still considered high tech now (testing employee urinals to check on their health!) and it’s the technology aspect which originally drew me to the book. 

The premise of the book is that after a couple of mysterious deaths it becomes apparent that the building computer system could have something to do with it.

This bothered me for a while. Most thrillers of this type try to keep a bit of mystery about what’s going on so you can be surprised when it all falls into place but this book points to the building and it’s systems as the culprit pretty much straight away.

Fortunately my fears were unfounded and there was a nice twist two thirds of the way in and it left itself open for a sequel, though I don’t think there is one. 

It was a pretty ordinary thriller all things said but the technology side of things made it interesting.

The computer that ran the building management software could basically control everything inside from the temperature, control the elevators and door locks to how much light the glass lets in to the smell of a particular room as well as using cameras, microphones and various other sensors to know exactly where everything and everyone is and it used these capabilities to bump off various characters.

Pretty much all of the technology described in the book could be implemented now but from a business perspective a lot of it would be unnecessary expense. A good example of this is toilets! In the book the personal cleaning systems are fully automatic, no manual intervention needed! It even has the capability to change the air in a room to get rid any “unsightly smells”. For a fraction of the cost I imagine most companies would be happy with a Glade Automatic Air Freshner.

It was a pretty decent read though which wasn’t difficult to get through so it was a good gift to receive.

On to the next one!

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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