The reviews are in . . . and they’re good!

Cipher_Cvr_mediumThe reviews for The Cipher are coming in . . . and they’re good!

Here’s a snippet from a Booklist review that really made me smile:

Ford follows up his debut, The Morgue and Me (2009), with another taut thriller. . . . Composing his novel with short chapters that switch perspectives among key players, Ford knows precisely when to lay his cards out on the table. Readers will speed through this book as they try to solve the narrative’s puzzle before the solution is revealed. Given all the national security leaks making the news, this book about privacy could not be more current.

And here’s a bit of what Publishers Weekly had to say:

Ford (The Morgue and Me) weaves a twisty, paranoid tale of technology, secrets, and lies, as 18-year-old Robert “Smiles” Smylie, heir to a major software security company, gets caught up in a thrilling caper.  Ford capably juggles several threads as he pulls off a complicated series of plans and double-crosses . . . . The end result is an unpredictable story with some audacious twists. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Feb.)

School Library was actually first out of the gate with its review, calling The Cipher “an exciting tale with a twist ending that teens will enjoy.”  And when Kirkus Reviews chimed in, they had some good things to say as well:

[T]he focus here is on the fast-moving action and web of double-crosses and buried secrets. Smiles’ confident, upbeat and largely ingenuous voice lends the book charm, and chapters in which Smiles’ fond ex-girlfriend Melanie investigates Alyce Systems’ past are both warm and suspenseful. Many different storylines are at play here besides the NSA scheme: Smiles’ family history, the upcoming Alyce Systems initial public offering, Smiles’ relationship with his dying father and Smiles’ growing attachment to a girl he meets at the conference. Each plotline works neatly with the others and achieves a satisfying resolution.

Color me very happy that The Cipher is getting some nice advance praise.

Playlist: The Cipher

I confess:  I’m  jealous of people who can listen to music while they write.  Perhaps it’s because I’m male and my brain isn’t made for multi-tasking, but when I get going I need utter silence.

Before that, however, I need inspiration — and for that, music can’t be beat.  When I sit down for a writing session, I’ll usually play something that seems appropriate to the mood of the piece.  After the wheels start turning — sometimes 30 seconds, sometimes 30 minutes — I shut it down with a silent thanks to the artist for helping me along.

I thought I would thank them publicly here.   In writing The Cipher, I returned again and again to a small number of songs.  I’ve compiled them on a playlist, which you can check out here.

So thanks to Augustana, Ennio Morricone, Vanilla Fudge, Nancy Sinatra, and all the rest.  Hope you enjoy — and maybe find some inspiration of your own.