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Buying gummy bears and a porn magazine plus living alone could classify you as a pedophile. Living in 90210 and working within the fortune 500 could classify you as upper class. What you buy, where you live, what you do, who you know, all creates a demographical portrait of you as an individual. As that individual you can be compared to the various groups within society deemed necessary by insurance and marketing companies, financial institutions, law enforcement, and even the government. Welcome to the information age where even the most mundane or trivial data stored on a computer can and will be used against you in a court of law. Everyday your rights granted to you by the 4th amendment are violated without your consent. Through the Patriot Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and a slew of others laws on the books, your rights to your own information are being stripped away. Your data, whether private or public, is searched for analysis, is searched for segregation, is searched for probable cause, again, all without your knowledge. Your information is constantly being seized for your potential as a Nike sneaker wearer, a food stamp user, or even a would-be killer. Both government and business think as long as you are a law abiding citizen, how they use your information should be of no concern. You should be concerned, you should be worried for in this day and age, information is money, it's power, and those who control the power, the information, control you.
Take the Fourth refers to the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s the one which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring a warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. However, in today’s bar-coded computer-transaction cell-phone techno-society, each of us gives out more information on a daily basis than the government actually needs to profile and learn all about us through old fashioned invasive actions. In essence, as a bi-product of our willingness to carry an iPhone, Droid, BlackBerry, even just a cell phone for that matter, or when we surf the web from a computer in our home, we inadvertently and willingly relinquish many of our constitutional rights. Jeffrey Walton points out in Take the Fourth so many ways information is gathered and compiled; even I was astounded by the depth of this data trail. Walton uses his techno-savvy character, Jorja Carson, as she peels the onion of the technological layering of the government databases, to uncover a truth far more sinister than imaginable. From the network servers of the CIA in Langley Virginia, to the Oval Office of the White House, Jeffrey Walton’s plot is creatively original with its exposition. He provides a sophisticated layering of many clandestine technologies transcending to the depths of binary analysis while he interleaves incredible factual knowledge into his storyline of terrorism, governmental power, crime and secrets.
Writing in a style reminiscent of the late Michael Crichton, with governmental overtones similar to a Tom Clancy novel, along with research analogous to what Dan Brown puts into his work; Jeffrey Walton carries his storyline with excellent realism, unparallel character development, clever foreshadowing and expertly conceived plot machinations. Keeping to relatively short chapters, easily imagined into a movie’s storyboard sequence, his novel is fast paced, engulfing the reader into a visual track while revealing more and more background about our unknowing loss of personal privacy.
When a gang of terrorists shoot up a shopping mall, causing carnage and mayhem, the public becomes willing to step down a wrung of private personal rights to allow the government to protect them against further terrorist attacks. As flu and pandemic health concerns bring risks to the general public, people forgo their individual rights and allow for governmental inoculations, not truly knowing what in fact is within the serum they so willingly allow to be injected into their bodies. Are we sure the government isn’t performing the highly publicized terrorist act to sway public opinion to allow for metal detectors and searches at public places? Does the CDC allow for an outbreak of a disease to scare the population; thus in turn causing a frenzy of people wanting inoculations of what the government might secretly put into the serum? How else could they persuade people to willingly get injections? For the benefit and greater good of the masses, individual rights are systematically dwindled away. Some knowingly, and many others without our slightest knowledge. These are the messages within Jeffrey Walton’s writing.
As subliminal as a picture within a picture, as for example the “arrow within the FedEx logo,” (really – look carefully and you’ll see it) Jeffrey Walton’s Take the Fourth will haunt you long after finishing the book. I certainly recommend this to all sophisticated readers of suspense, espionage and technology novels. I can see this book becoming a block buster movie as well as a series of adventures of his well developed characters. This is a "must read" for any freedom loving American.
Now that your computer has clicked on the web link for this review, the government knows of your interest in this genre of reading material, and may have moved you into a category for further observation. You now must be careful where you go, what you buy, what you type online and definitely what you say! By not paying attention to Take the Fourth, you may someday have to “Take the fifth.”