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Brigham Plaza by Daniel Verastiqui
Purchase link: /amazon/?brigham-plaza

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"Brigham Plaza is like a campy Neuromancer, a bit more pulp and a bit less serious." - Jared Harper

"The universe of Brigham Plaza is completely probable and the scars of its history are seen in the society created. I could live there and know the rules, as well as know the loopholes I could exploit." - Heidi Click

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Most hackers think they’re going to live forever; Johnny San Vito isn’t so optimistic. While snooping around a protected construct in Vinestead International’s virtual reality network, he starts to get the feeling this might be his final visit to cyberspace. To preserve his data and leave a trail for his friends, he manages to prime a Dead Man’s Loop just in time for the network to come crashing down around him.

When the data reaches celebrity hacker Danny “Guns” Montreal and cipher den suit Megan “Tanzy” Riley, it points them to Johnny’s final resting place in virtuality—a seemingly unremarkable strip mall called Brigham Plaza. Getting there will be difficult, and leaving with their lives will be tougher still, but what they find there will rewrite history… and alter the course of humanity’s future.

In the aftermath of Perion City, long after the fall of the Net, the pivotal battle in the war against Vinestead will be fought and decided on the cracked sidewalks of Brigham Plaza.

Science Fiction | 351 pages | ISBN: 979-8618450928 | 2020-09-01

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Year(s) Covered: 2019
  Previous Book: perion-synthetics
      Next Book: por-vida

user@vnet:~/books/brigham-plaza$ mysql -u ZERO_COOL -pHACKTHEPLANET -e "select * from reviews where slug = 'brigham-plaza' order by RAND() limit 5

********** 1. row ***********
      name: Jared Harper
     stamp: 2020-08-28
     stars: 4
     title: Never dull, always one step ahead of the reader
   content: This is the sixth book in the Vinestead Anthology, and the fourth book in the series I've read.

Brigham Plaza is like a campy Neuromancer, a bit more pulp and a bit less serious.

The cyberpunk world in the series is wild and vivid. The timeline has traditionally mapped to the real world, but the divergent path of the Vinestead universe raises a lot of interesting questions.

In this book we're introduced to some new characters, as well as a few returning characters. Danny and Tanzy investigate the suspicious death of their long-estranged friend. We also see the return of Kaili Zabora, whose story continues in a truly unexpected fashion. Lincoln Continental himself makes an appearance as a character in the story. And of course the evil sack of crap that is Arthur Sedivy.

If you like science fiction and want to support an independent author, this is a great book to read. You don't need to know anything about the Vinestead universe, but I bet it'll make you want to read others in the anthology.

********** 2. row ***********
      name: Megan Allen
     stamp: 2020-09-01
     stars: 3
     title: Ready to plug in!
   content: Just finished this book and initial impressions follow:

It's hackers vs the man. Some throw back to early internet days. Fun book, lots of action and some pretty cool ideas about the possibilities of humans, machines, and virtual reality.

Things I liked: biochips and the ability to regulate our brain and body responses, the blurring of lines between reality & virtual reality , man & machine, sane & insane- what is real, anyway?, visiting characters from previous books, seeing them interact with each other, and getting a deeper look into some of them, overall a good read, I'd recommend.

Things I liked less: I'd like to know more of how the world is functioning- the lines between a dystopian world and fully functioning, technology advanced world are kinda thin and could use some defining, the ending was felt more like set up for another book (which is cool, but), - I have questions and am unsure if I'm feeling a lack of completion for this story or just a general left-hanging, waiting for more story feeling. I feel like the characters were finally doing some good growth/evolving at the end and I really hope the next book picks up there and shows us the fruit of all that growth.

Definitely you can see how much the author has evolved over the course of his several books- I'm looking forward to the next installment.

I received a free, advanced copy of this book. But I also bought on kindle for the future reread! Print copy text was smaller than I would have liked.

********** 3. row ***********
      name: Curtis VanDerwerken
     stamp: 2020-09-01
     stars: 4
     title: Another Epic Journey
   content: Daniel did it again... another dive back into the dystopian universe that he created and it is a hit. Daniel's character development and his unique writing style has produced a compelling storyline filled with just enough twists and turns to keep you glued to the book.

If you are a veteran to his stories, you will immediately fall back into the universe like you never left. If you are new to this anthology, don't worry... this book works well enough to be a standalone; but will make you want to go back and read the others to gain a deeper understanding of the characters motivations.

On a deeper note, we need to keep stories coming from Daniel. He had a character brutally killed off in his previous entry Hybrid Mechanics with the name of Curtis (which I found personally offensive) and I need Daniel to keep going long enough so that the collective consciousness of Curtis can be brought back by Perion to enact his vengeance!!!

********** 4. row ***********
      name: Scott Graber
     stamp: 2020-09-01
     stars: 5
   content: If you’re a fan of Verastiqui’s previous works then you absolutely won’t be disappointed, yet new readers will still find it exciting and cyberpunk-ily fresh.

The interweaving non-linear story line, R-rated risqué rowdiness (although much more toned down in this book), dialogue bouncing between clever and snarky, and futuristic technology hybridized with 90s nostalgia (e.g. a Blockbuster Video on one page to a virtual reality orgy on the next) - all make for an emotionally riveting read.

Who killed infamous hacker Johnny San Vito and why? Who is really pulling the strings, who is next, and how deep does the rabbit hole go? We follow a group of fellow hackers - one with a past he’d like to forget (a callback to Verastiqui’s previous books), one chasing notoriety with selfishness disguised as selflessness, one who will stop at nothing to enact revenge for his fallen friend, and one who may or may not be trapped in their own personal hell.

Heists, fights, fists. Philosophy of consciousness, questionable morals, and pure evilness. Imaginative and visceral, the comeuppance and resolution of the characters are shocking and surreal. Verastiqui knows how to craftily build suspense, knows how to end each chapter leaving you wanting more, and it gets better with every book - this one being the acme of his achievement in this regard.

********** 5. row ***********
      name: Jay Roy
     stamp: 2020-09-01
     stars: 5
   content: A very fitting middle chapter of the Vinestead Anthology

I thought Brigham was Verastiqui's best paced book thus far and I felt that the action from chapter-to-chapter made me want to ignore the rest of the world and keep reading. Story progression held plenty of turns to keep the reader guessing, especially when combined with the knowledge from the rest of the series.

As a fan of the genre, there was enough tech to keep my cyber-nerd satiated while leaving enough room for the characters.

Brigham rounds out the series very nicely, tying up some loose ends while providing an origin for others. I look forward to what is next for Verastiqui.

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