Eshu International and the World of Tomorrow
BY SHELLY BRYANT I October 20, 2010
Patrick Todoroff. Running Black. Smashwords 2010, ebook. 91055 words.
The world of Patrick Todoroff's Running Black plunges the reader into a possible tomorrow — a place at which we could conceivably arrive if we keep heading the direction we are going today. Corporations are the big boys in this world, carrying more clout than nations, and the corporations have (predictably) plunged the entire world into a real dog-eat-dog reality. Black and gray ops are the norm — even though each corporation denies its involvement in such operations — and Eshu International is the top dog in the black op market. Running Black is the telling of one Eshu International operation that doesn't quite go according to plan.
At times, it feels that Todoroff manages to raise all the important questions in Running Black, and he's not afraid to look those questions unflinchingly in the eye, even though he doesn't pretend to answer them all. It is a pretty weighty read, touching on questions of ethics and technology, the stability of human consciousness, the potential "humanness" (particularly as regards the "human rights") of our technological developments, the responsibilities surrounding creation and innovation, the dangers of religious fanaticism, the place of big business, and the question of the soul. That's a lot to cover in a book that is more focused on action than it is on philosophy, but somehow it manages to squeeze it all in and does so without once missing a beat in the fast-paced thrill ride in the possible world of tomorrow.
Running Black, it seems, has it all. There's good plot development, likeable characters, gore, suspense, intrigue, espionage, violence, high-tech toys, important issues raised, ethical questions explored, and non-stop action. It's a story that works on many levels and keeps the reader turning the pages, anxious to get to see what might be coming next. It is a story that works well on many levels.
As with many books that are (more or less) self-published, there are some printing/typing errors in Running Black that sometimes distract. However, this is a small problem, and the bigger problems often seen in self-published work are absent in Running Black. Here, the pacing is good, and the story works the way it is supposed to. It is a fine read, worth more than the modest price you'll pay for the ebook.