Book reviews / Non fiction

Book review: Kingdom of Lies, Adventures in Cybercrime

This book was a bit lame, if I’m going to be honest. It read like a few breathless anecdotes that were cobbled together to make a book. But the stories are only related together under the banner of cybercrime, but there’s not enough connective tissue to like it all that much.

So the premise is that the book is about cybercrime, which it loosely is, but almost just personal bits and pieces of the people involved. We get snippets of the different types of cybercrime, ransomware for example, is a key feature of one of the main characters, but there’s no in-depth analysis or, again, connecting much together. So it all just feels a bit lightweight.

The other thing I don’t like about it is that it’s told like she was there, observing like a third party. But obviously she wasn’t, so I feel distrustful of the entire narrative. I have no doubt she had interviews with these people and knew her stuff, but it was written in such a flippant style that it just made me question the veracity of the whole book. Which is probably not what she was going for.

The stories centre around different criminal and non-criminal elements, all enmeshed in either committing or combatting cybercrime. Instead of keeping them all together and telling one story at a time, they are all stretched out over the whole book, which makes it difficult to care at the beginning as you’re being introduced to all these people and not really caring about any of them. Also expecting to find out more about cybercrime endnote really getting that either. So I felt annoyed for the first 80 pages.

There’s also relatively little resolution. Yes, some things get wrapped up but I wanted to know more in-depth understanding of what happened and how they were or weren’t resolved. Instead, you get high level descriptions and yet more personal bits and bobs. Also I’m super annoyed that she wrote herself in as a third party character, which again just felt incredibly lame.

Anyway, do not recommend. I found Spam Nation a much more compelling and interesting read, with far more to understand about the nature of cybercrime. Ugh. Annoyed. It was just so top level and a like a centimetre deep, when I wanted something with a lot more detail.

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