5 Small Stars
Mind in the Clouds

I was kind of wondering when someone would write a book about UAVs, drones, or whatever those things flying high in the sky that we can’t always see. This author wrote about just that and he did a fantastic, if limited job. The main character, Sam Price, is a Doctor of Cognitive Psychology. And if you know what that means, then you’re smarter than I am. So for the majority of us, I’ll explain it. He’s called “Doc” as a nickname that stuck when he went to work for a medium-sized engineering and research company based in St. Louis, MO. And yes, his doctorate is only one of the many that work at this firm. His specific are deals with how the mind knows things, or at least that’s my interpretation of what I read in the dictionary. How his doctorate applies to the story is a little sketch for me, but just be award that “Doc” is a very smart guy.

He’s kind of new to the business world so his assignments with this new company haven’t all been leading edge work. He’s hoping his next assignment will have a little more substance to it so he can prove his worth to the company. So, when he’s assigned to study the training provided to the Operations Coordinator for the Joint Aerial Combat Capability (JACC) pronounced “jack”. Of course this is a military funded program since everything dealing with the military has an acronym. Doc will have to travel to Las Vegas and specifically to the Nellis AFB Test Range. There is a prototype JACC air vehicle in testing at that range.

Of course this sounds like a very exciting assignment. Unfortunately, it becomes way to exciting when Doc finds the pilot for the JACC air vehicle a dangerous person, not to be trusted. He also comes to believe that the civilian Program Manager for JACC is a bombastic politician who wants his semi-autonomous system to get fully funded. And this sets up a dangerous situation. You see, JACC is built for reconnaissance and attack. It can not only find it’s target, but also take it out with highly effective weapons. The question becomes, who is actually in control?

The writer writes pretty well. There are a number of places where I find his conversations more of a lecture. I don’t think real people talk like he has them in his book. I’ve worked in the environment he describes and even the tech guys didn’t go around spouting a bunch of geek speak if they wanted anyone to pay attention to them. But, I guess the author does have to explain a lot of stuff to us laymen. We just don’t ask the question of “why” often enough and we’re usually satisfied with short answers. This story gives you a lot of in-depth answers, but doesn’t solve the entire question of who’s in charge?

Oh, also, I did not know this was the second book of a series. That was never mentioned when I was requested to read and review this book. I have no idea what the first book is about.