Midnight Empire by Andrew Croome

[[andrew-croome-review]]Who are we underneath it all? Does it matter which country we come from, and will that change our reaction when the chips are down, in a time of war?

These were the questions running through my mind when I finished Andrew Croome’s Midnight Empire. At points philosophical, at others a fast-paced thriller, this is an oddly whimsical look at the War on Terror and its impact upon one Australian man.

Daniel Carter works for a small company in Canberra, specialising in developing secure computer networks. Snapped up by the American Air Force, he travels to that clichéd and unreal city of Las Vegas to help them implement this new technology into their drones over in Afghanistan.

A total fish out of water, he tries to live up to his ideals of good and evil and discovers that things are not always what they seem. There is love, there is friendship, there is work, and there is, strangely enough, an awful lot of poker.

A glimpse into the world of casino living is contrasted dramatically with that of the Air Force base, allowing Croome to flesh out the characters, so that when all hell breaks loose, we can see why Daniel makes the choices he does. As our protagonist, Daniel is endearingly flawed. We feel he’s always a half step to the left from everyone else, and while this occasionally makes for a bumpy narrative, it doesn’t detract from the underlying tension.

This will enthrall anyone interested in computer programming and philosophical discussions on war, as well as those who like a good thriller.

[[kate-rockstrom-pic]] Kate Rockstrom