To help his father, Ben moves back into the old neighborhood. Years ago he was a popular athlete in the local school, then a successful mid-level executive, father, husband. Now Ben is a loner, content to spend his free time in the "reality" of the internet. Ben reluctantly snaps out of his seclusion when he tries to understand why an old friend and neighbor killed himself and realizes that this is no longer the same neighborhood he grew up in. It's as if someone used resources of social media, internet and surveillance to strip away a layer of civilization, exposing a nightmare of conflicts and betrayals. When Ben is threatened by the same forces, he has to re-discover his own strengths to fight back against a shadow opponent.
I am an accidental writer. In "real life" I have graduate degrees in business and engineering and spent many years writing boring technical, business, and legal papers. In late 2012 a friend's death prompted me to ask what would be the one thing I regret not doing. I've always been an avid reader but have not had the courage to write. And I made a New Year resolution to write a book. That's how "The Great Game" was born.
I try to write about serious topics - I have strong interest in history, economics and international politics - but wrap them into an action-filled story. I was born in Europe but lived in the US for over half of my life. Hopefully, this gives me a multiple points of view perspective. While all my books are entirely fictional, each of them carries a Commentary how the fiction is rooted in facts and realities of current events.
Neighbor and friend Evan has killed himself and his wife Rosie, and only a few doors away, Ben and his father receive the shocking news. At one time Alex, Deion, Evan and Ben were a "pack": they partied, dated, and played games together... but grew apart as life took its toll. That's only the backdrop for a series of events that reveal why Evan did what he did, and why Ben feels so trapped in his life, strapped financially and underemployed in a dead-end job with debts and responsibilities he can never seem to conquer. There's no fight left in Ben - only defeat - at the point when Evan dies; but somehow this event sparks a bit of life in Ben. As he begins to uncover what really happened to Evan and Rosie, he begins to piece together the broken parts of his own life.
From augmented reality, Deep Web programs and intrigue to hidden links between data, relationships, and those who manipulate both, Ben finds himself in a strange new world of suspicious activity and dangerous implications. Social networking experiments gone awry lead directly to life-altering circumstances. In many ways, Marshland is a quintessential story of marriage, friendships, survival, and choices good and bad. But as members of the old gang drift back together and learn new things, each is not just affected by but is ultimately transformed through events that follow. As the nightmare evolves and immerses Ben, his father, and other characters, the story becomes a gripping saga of greed and vengeance, political processes, and the intrusion of computer and social systems on individual lives. Readers who enjoy stories of data manipulation, social and political confrontation, intrigue, and friendship challenges will relish a scenario where all these elements and more build to an unpredictable crescendo, keeping them thoroughly immersed until the truth is finally revealed.
Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review