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Summary

A technothriller for the malware and Stuxnet era

An airliner’s controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction.

At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events. But Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst who quit in disgust after witnessing the gross errors that led up to 9/11, thinks otherwise. Jeff fears a more serious cyber terrorism attack targeting the United States computer infrastructure is already under way. And as other menacing computer malfunctions pop up around the world, some with deadly results, he realizes that there isn’t much time if he hopes to prevent an international catastrophe.

Written by a global authority on cyber security, Zero Day presents a chilling “what if” scenario that, in a world completely reliant on technology, is more than possible today - it’s a cataclysmic disaster just waiting to happen.

©2011 Mark Russinovich (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story.

the narrator was brilliant.. really brought the story to life. I love cyber crime books and this didn't let me down... I'm sure stuff like this happens daily.. I'd love to know more!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story

Loved it. good griping story. can't wait to read the next book when I can get it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, but a little amateurish.

Would you listen to Zero Day again? Why?

No.
I don't regret listening to it, but there's nothing particularly memorable about it and there was a lot that I found annoying the first time. There's trends like the 'good guys' being beautiful and perfect, and characters taking the less sensible choice with weak justifications just to move to the next plot point.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It tied together nicely enough, but there were no big surprises.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Definitely not the tech-centric scenes. The book was hyped as being technically accurate given the authors background, but then you get scenes where a company's IT expert is blown away by the concept of a boot-disk. Honestly I was expecting to learn something but it feels like either the author knows very little about it, or the editor had him remove everything that the reader might not understand. Sure it's not your typical fictional sci-fi 'hacking' rubbish, but it's hardly a satisfying pillar of realism.

Try as I might I can't conjure up any scenes that were memorable for the right reasons, it's just a steady stream of pretty-good punctuated with minor irritations.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Computers be scary, yo!

(Honestly I have no idea)

Any additional comments?

It's not bad, but the author feels very inexperienced; so many clichés and obvious choices. You can tell whether a character is going to be good or evil based on their physical description, and there's very little grey-area.
Once you accept that it's not going to be the best book you've read all year it's alright; it moves a long at a reasonable pace, and there's a decently collection of characters to follow.

It was good enough that I decided to try out the sequels as well; they're better, the author has clearly improved with practice, but they're still not fantastic.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Pacey researched plot, horribly cliche characters

This was recommended for me by the Audible/Amazon bots after reading Kill Decision and Daemon by Daniel Suarez and The Avogadro Corp by William Hertling.

The plot is well thought out and clearly the author knows a lot about the subject which made the scenarios believable, even if at times, the strings of code will leave the layman feeling a bit left behind.

I did enjoy the plot, but was continually irritated by the two dimensional female characters and the one dimensional thought processes being portrayed as going through the male characters minds. Perhaps it is a real insight into the programmers mind?

Sadly, the narrator had a real problem with French pronunciation which also grated as the plot went international.

So, in summary, a pacey and well researched plot with some interest and a well made important message about computer security, but not very well written in my opinion. Try the books above for more inventiveness and excitement.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ash
  • Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
  • 07-04-13

A gripping tech thriller...

Unlike many techno-thrillers this pretty much has all of the details spot on, for those of you that don't live/work in the IT world it's worth pointing out that whilst this might sound fantastical it's all possible which I think makes it an even better read. Don't hesitate, download the book now and whilst you're listening to the first chapters update your antivirus package and make sure your Windows updates are installed!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrifyingly Realistic

Mark Russinovich knows his stuff like few other PC experts today. He manages to bring this knowledge (and his concerns about computer security) to life is a most realistic story. He also avoids most technical jargon and puts across his ideas using real English, not techno-babble.



Johnny Heller does a great job of narrating this book, and its sequel, Trojan Horse.



If you don't start doing an anti-malware scan on your PC while reading this book, you aren't paying attention!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shelley
  • 27-04-18

I was a skeptic but now I'm not! Really good book!

This is a really good book by Mark Russinovich. There are many reviews plus the publisher's summary so I will not expound on what has already been written.
This book has a really good plot and some scenes that actually brought about a reaction. In the very beginning of the book there is an airplane scene. The plane's autopilot malfunctioned and the plane stalls after climbing to a height way above where it should have been. The author describes the nose dive the plane takes and the inhuman noises coming from the passengers who believe they are about to die. This is GREAT writing!
Other parts of the book describe the hero Jeff Aiken. He is an expert at computer security. At one point he's working on a computer system with a virus and there is an awful lot of code that is read. I don't understand code and zeros and what should be there and what is there and so on... so, I fast forwarded through that.
I will purchase the other books in this series. Lots of action and even more interaction while working to find out who, how and why.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Johnny Heller does an excellent job narrating.
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • 06-11-12

Techno-thriller that gets the tech right

What did you love best about Zero Day?

It's not all that common that authors who use technology in their stories get the tech right. Mark does that very well. Since I have a background in tech, getting it wrong would have really taken away from the story. Instead, this was great for a long road trip so I could keep listening.

What did you like best about this story?

The use of technology was well placed and well used. This is important for someone who works with technology, otherwise the story would have had major distractions in it

Any additional comments?

It feels like this book ends abruptly, but I believe that it continues in Trojan Horse which wasn't available on Audible at the time of this writing.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bob
  • 11-11-12

Are you a techie?

If you aren't, don't waste a credit. If you are, you will probably enjoy how our new "toys" are being put to use in today's fight against terrorism. Technology is fascinating but can get a bit boring. The author spends way too much time explaining acronyms, it got old. Johnny Heller did a great job narrating.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Matts Persic
  • 01-10-13

Boilerplate Storyline; Preachy; Dry; Predictable

Would you try another book from Mark Russinovich and/or Johnny Heller?

Not sure. This story was dry and preachy. It tried too hard to force the points. Cook and Crichton wrap their messages in suspense and storyline... this book just kept citing examples of doom and went nowhere to hold my attention or interest.

Has Zero Day turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, but I'll hesitate before buying a book from this writer.

What didn’t you like about Johnny Heller’s performance?

Dry. No story development.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

None.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • 1BookJ
  • 02-11-12

Uninspired...

Zero Day has an interesting premise, but falls waaaaaay short in execution.

The only one you get to know a little in this book is the main male character...the others are just plain and uninteresting. The story fails to interest much after the stupid 'TV' start to the book. If you are brave enough to try this one out, you'll know what I mean. The ending...well...anticlimax doesn't cover it.

This book could have been sooooo much more...some interesting found, but not enough to recommend it to anyone except hard core tech nerds...

Some notes on the audio book version...when there is code bits in the book...they get spelled out. Kinda tiring considering the first one lasted around 5 minutes.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KYGunGuy
  • 10-02-18

gripping tale

I loved this book and how close to real life it could be. I hope there will be more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jack Daniels
  • 19-08-13

Keep that antivirus software updated

A fine technical thriller that held my interest all the way. It moves right along with no flat spots. Every thing the author wrote is accurate and possible in the real world. The coincidence in the back story is kind of a reach, but it works in this book. The story is powerful enough that after listening to it, you will feel the need to update your virus protection and firewall.

Zero Day made the miles go by fast. I recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Audacious
  • 05-11-12

Good concept, bad narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Narration... Narration... Narration...
I couldn't believe my ears when the narrator kept pronouncing malware as mailware... are you serious? I also hear ICQ pronounced IQC.... just horrible narration. I didn't want to take a star away from overall but the narration really take away from the overall experience.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • 07-03-14

Not for me

Plot sounded great... but execution didn't work for me. Way too much un-needed sex and innuendos, jerky, preachy and I was unable to suspend my disbelief. Think computer pro's racing through New York, Russia and France while people all around them are being murdered. This is not an EOTWAWKI book, rather a near repeat of 9/11 type attack using cyber terrorism. The computer as a risk for doomsday is clearly shown and I would love a more realistic book using that scenario.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel S
  • 05-12-17

Plausible and scary

What did you like best about this story?

There are so many things about this story that are both plausible and scary. People have many conspiracy theories about how things could have happened. It just make you think it could happen.

Any additional comments?

I liked how the protagonist overcame the struggle of losing his wife to make a connection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful