As the title implies, Silicon Seduction is a novel with a split personality; it’s part high-tech spy thriller, part sunny California romance. M.K. Poe’s debut attempts to transcend a single genre, but at times reads like two separate books under one cover.
Each aspect of the story is true to its genre. Romance lovers will enjoy the clever banter and sensual-but-not-graphic interludes between brilliant post-grads Charmaine and Michael as they fall head-over-heels into each other’s arms. Poe’s language becomes distractingly flowery in some passages, though, taking away from the relationship by calling attention to the words used to describe it, such as: “Streaming sunlight illuminated the aqua portals to his soul.”
The Silicon Valley spy mystery—a high tech circuit design with military implications that may have fallen into the wrong hands—separates the lovers as Michael takes on his alter ego: international spy. Fascinating, though sometimes heavy-handed, technical detail here will please James Bond fans, and may teach novices a thing or two, like what a microdot is and why anyone would want to steal it.
The story bounces back and forth between secret communications among agents known only as H-4 and H-7 and emotional reunions between the lovers, interspersed with highly realistic boardroom scenes at Charmaine’s father’s powerful Silicon Valley company. Several spy scenes are genuinely harrowing, and some love scenes compelling, but the two seldom meet.
The disparate stories come together near the end in the novel’s most integrated—and suspenseful—scene, involving Michael, Charmaine, the high-tech thieves and a kidnapping. While it’s fairly satisfying to have the various threads of Poe’s novel come together, a shorter, tighter book might be more apt to keep readers’ attention through to the end.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.