Red Devil 4: Dr. Eric Leuhardt
Think about it: A few electrodes implanted in your brain and you’re connected wirelessly not merely to a computer system, but to the Internet, to your car, to your home–to other people. Thoughts become actions as you literally move through information as if it were a physical environment. But what about the dark side? Could your brain be hacked? Could a class of neuron-stimulating computer codes become the heroin or meth of tomorrow? And what about people who opt out of “real life,” choosing instead to spend their days in a computer-generated virtual reality?
All of these questions will be answered in the course of the novel titled RedDevil 4, a fast-paced, fascinating (and terrifying!) techno-medical thriller that follows prominent neuroscientist Hagan Maerici as he’s brought in to help solve a series of murders where the suspects, it seems, have had their brains hacked with malevolent computer code–a precursor to the real battle that lies ahead.
Dr. Hagan Maerici is focusing his work on creating and an artificial intelligence named Omid. Omid follows his every command and can do just about anything we can with the help, guidance and technology provided by this man. The year is 2053 and most people young, old but not the very elderly called technophobes are connected to the world through implants in the brain allowing them believe it or not to connect with other people, make phone calls, access information, keep track of their staffs, drive their cars with a single command and obtain information in seconds. Entering his car he is able to access his wife if he needs her, which he would prefer not to, phone his office and get his daily schedule and updates on his patients and speak and connect with Omid. Imagine being able to drive your car and not have to deal with the traffic, the sights and create a screen or images that are more pleasing to you. But, although this doctor has high expectations for creating this artificial intelligence and the breakthrough comes through, hoping it will increase profits for his company, something terrifying changes it all. Imagine an AI that thinks and acts on its own. But, there is much more as the author introduces us to Trent Devron the son of the man who is behind the research and Hagan’s superior. Trent was in a fatal accident that cost his mother her life and he lost mobility and is deformed in many ways. Escaping life is his solution as he spends much of his time in many different virtual reality arenas playing games, meeting people and even attending parties. But, there is much more as we meet the man called the Chameleon whose temperament, physical appearance and facial expressions change within seconds, as does a chameleon that hides who he really is. Dangerous and dealing in drugs this man and those that work for him focus their attention on girls that please them, giving them drugs to hype them up and hopefully getting access to some that are so powerful it will blow their minds.
As the author explains the various parts of the brain and the end result of each of the victim’s whose brains were hacked by a virus that comes to be known as Red Devil 4, the author on pages 149-150 explains what is happening within each of their brains. This deadly virus putting them in different states of comprehension attacks three victims. So, what are Edwin Krantz a police detective and former Navy Seal Tara Dezner going to do when they are the ones handling the murders and find that circumventing the law and the privacy act might be the only way to save lives? Dr. Hagan Maerici is the doctor handling all three cases since they are all his patients. When calling up the brain patterns of Dr. Devron we learn just how elaborate and extensive the technology is and how he can call up the information without even being in the same room as the images fly in front of him and the holographs and shapes outline his brain. The end result is frightening as the author explains that it seems, “ that the amygdala is not communicating with the rest of his brain,” explaining why they did not see the damage right away. They claim he has something called decoherence and that both his amygdala and brain are not working in unison but separately. The rest you will have to learn when enter the room and witness the exam yourself. Trent Devron seems to be able to do more than he was before and his brain seems more stimulated and smarter. Entering his virtual world he encounters a woman that lures him in with red eyes. Calling her the blue woman with the red eyes why would she present him with this gift and just what does this mean? As Trent tries to figure this out dark images and memories of his past flood and begin to circle around him. When you read pages 158-159 you will see the same think he experiences and join him as he takes a trip to the desert and then back to the stark and sterile waiting room hoping to see his father. Gerald Oberweiss is the next victim and his diagnosis is not quite the same. This patient saw the team looking at him but failed to respond. Did you ever meet someone that was so cold they were looking right through you as if you were not there? Read the full analysis to learn more on pages 166-167. This story takes place within the time span of just a little over a day and although it seems like things should be happening over a longer time period it does not. Each chapter takes place within minutes of the one before and the events happen quite close together.
Dr. Maerici is so engulfed in his work and his mission to complete his goals with the AI that he loses sight of the real world, his relationships and his life. So bent on creating Omid and wanting to perfect him he does not see many of things or events that are unfolding right in front of his eyes. Tossing his wife’s feelings aside and not really concerned about her wants and needs we see a man that lives for his work and blocks out all of the rest.
Neuroprosthetics: Imagine having a chip implanted in your brain allowing you to be connected to other humans and allowing them access to your thoughts, wants and needs. Imagine doctors being able to call up a patient’s records from a remote location even their car. Imagine the police having access to your file, your history and your life just by requesting it out loud. Imagine two detectives communicating telepathically you might say without your knowledge while you are standing right in front of them. People are many different priorities and as we get to know Hagan, Edwin Krantz and Tara, we learn a lot about human behavior, wants and needs that that the author just might be trying to teach each one of them different lessons. Selfishness, greed, money, power, control and success come to mind as some of the issues that are brought to light. Love, understanding, relationships and hope just might pull through but first who is controlling RED DEVIL 4 and can it be stopped?
Dr. Hagan Maerici is at the center of the controversy as he just might be the prime suspect or reason for what is happening. The Chameleon, a powerful drug lord is the third victim and his reactions to the doctor and stimuli do not mirror the other two victims. Mumbling: “Not me Red Devil,” he provides the first real clue to the mystery. Just what is Red Devil? Several different voices are heard including a Reverend Elymas who has become so enamored with the Chameleon and hooked on his drugs that what happens to this shyster you might say who milks his congregations for all they are worth, is frightening. Reenter the room with the Chameleon and learn more about what happens when the left side of your brain cannot function because it lacks sensory stimulus. You might want to move your finger or your hand but when you have a “neglect, you are permanently in a state in which you never notice something either from the side of your body or from that side of your environment that would induce a reaction.”
Getting to know one of the main characters you will see many different changes within this person’s personality and get to understand the underlying focus that has this person under the control of Red Devil 4. Read Saturday at 3:11 P.M. and hear the voice of this person, feel his energy and learn more. The author uses his extensive knowledge and research linking this to other illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. As he defines Anton’s syndrome related to one of our victims and he continues how Omid operates, what is Artificial Intelligence and just how committed is Omid to Hagan? In order to save everyone someone has to gain control of the operating system within the brain of two men. Within pages 238-240 the author sums up the doctor’s findings and we learn what has to be done, as there is now a fourth victim.
Omid is the key to success he hopes and although he might be an AI his feelings are that of a father to a son. Getting it from all sides Hagan has to decide where his loyalties truly lie and how to defuse Red Devil 4, which is housed within the brain and body of someone. Dangerous and deadly if they do not stop it more victims will die. What happens you might think is unethical as laws are bent, privacy clauses are pushed aside and Hagan, Tara and Edwin race the clock to stop a deadly killer. The final chapters are heart stopping and will keep you glued to the printed page waiting to learn the fate of so many as the author crafts an ending that is so unique and so different from any mystery thriller or science fiction novel that you have ever read. Omid is at the helm. Can he control the implants in the victims hoping for cortical slowing in the core? Find out what the link is and how they have to proceed to stop Red Devil 4.
Just how they attempt to stop Red Devil 4 will not only keep readers captivated reading the final pages and minutes but will make you wonder if in the future this could really happen. Can they stop what they set in motion? How are they going to expand the consciousness of someone by networking with more human brains? Find out as you hold your breath, don’t move a muscle and read the emotional ending. Red Devil 4: AI/Implants vs. the way information is accessed today? What would you want for your future?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Let’s give this: FIVE GOLDEN WORKABLE IMPLANTS