Daily Review: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel
December 18, 2017
Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet.
Milton (Milt) Edwards, eighteen, high school graduate and gamer supreme, lives for the next game to be played on the internet. His friend, Simon Smith, is no different, and together they rule the world of war simulations and zombie invasions.
When Simon tells Milt about the newest site he’s heard of—the Undernet—Milt is intrigued. However, when Simon turns up dead shortly after telling him, Milt is determined to find out why. Was it the Undernet, a shadowy cyber world, or simply a maniac with a vendetta? He is soon recruited by Ramon, a former prisoner turned FBI hacker, and Larry Caldwell, an FBI agent. Ramon introduces Milt to the Darknet, and soon the clues fall into place, or at least Milt thinks they do.
Against the counsel of his girlfriend, Roberta Jones, Milt goes deeper and deeper into the netherworld known as the Undernet, finding out that reality isn’t what he thinks it is. More deaths happen, and when Milt discovers the truth behind who killed Simon—and others—it may be too late. Log onto the Undernet. Don’t think about logging out.
By Teresa Fallen Angel
Milt’s world was filled with his gaming buddy Simon and his girlfriend Robbie. What else could any red-blooded nerd want out of life that is until the day Simon went out looking for new free software from some place called the Undernet and was missing until he turned up dead. Milt determination lead him in Ramon who at first glance seemed to be only interested in uncovering secrets in the Darknet, a shadow of the internet where all manner of unsavory individuals hang out, but there was so much more to his story.
Milt soon learns that there was a hidden agenda and if he was willing to work with him Ramon would allow him into the Undernet where he found individuals basest desires could be fulfilled. As this story unfolded Milt was taken into a world where individuals could have or take anything they wanted without worry about any consequences or so they thought.
This knowledge can change a person, but how you use this information, for good or bad, remains to be seen.
This book was filled with unique and complex characters who experience a dark world that few will ever be seen. This story has a much darker plot than Mr. Frankel’s usual books and I for one think he has another hit on his hands. Blending together a young adult story with dark and mature themes isn’t easy, but it flowed into an incredible book that I will never forget.
The Undernet’ brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden.
Frankel has crafted realistic, likable and engaging central characters in Milt and his girlfriend, Robbie. They’re not perfect, and their mistakes have consequences, which makes them easier to empathize with and understand. Insights into Milt’s thoughts and gut reactions, and his feelings about Robbie draw the reader into the often very confronting story of his quest for justice and truth.
Part of Frankel’s genius in casting this story is designing characters who live and work in the shadows so that the reader has to keep questioning whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. There are so many layers of intrigue and concealment in this story that the reader is kept curious and wanting to know, much
like Milt throughout this story, seeing the truth despite layers of concealment and misinformation. In this sense, the Undernet and the Dark Net take on the roles of additional impersonal characters that deliberately obscure reality in this story, just as they seem to in actual fact.
Some parts of The Undernet are definitely uncomfortable to read. In graphic contrast to the sincere and honest friendship Milt has with Robbie and with his best friend, Simon, Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet – or anywhere. This is delivered with confronting realism and honesty.
Through all of this, It was the strong identification I felt with Milt’s “ordinary person” response to the ugly side of life that enabled me to keep reading and hoping for him to find the resolution he was so desperate to find.
Please click HERE to find The Undernet on Amazon.