A novel about cyberterrorism is very timely, if you read the hysterical musings that can be found in today's media. John Mariotti's latest adds the Chinese and some rogue Pakistanis for extra frisson. Unfortunately The Chinese Conspiracy smacks of something put together and contrived rather than written.
Everything in the novel is way too convenient and rather predictable, exacerbated by the fact that at least 100 pages are unnecessary, making it a bit disappointing. The Chinese Conspiracy is less cyberpunk and far more movie of the week. I really wanted to like this novel, but found myself bored by its lack of surprise or originality. Rather than a novel I didn't want to put down, it was one I couldn't be bothered to pick up.
The romance therein spends most of its time getting in the way, "romance" for romance sake rather than a useful plot device. Its the ol' cliche about girl the main character has the hots for in high school being single when he rolls back into town. His high school car is in perfect shape even though its been in storage since he left. Needless to say the baddies go after the main character's flame. Events in this novel are so obvious they're almost sign-posted .
That said, if you are a quick reader, and want a predictable pot-boiler to read on a long flight that doesn't take much investment this might fit the bill. There is nothing deep or technical here. Clancy or Gibson it isn't.
But Mariotti shows promise in his ability to construct a narrative. I suspect he will improve with each novel and his next might be rather good. A little less filler, predictability, and cliche' would do nicely, thank you. The Chinese Conspiracy reads, like some albums listen: talent on show if badly applied to the product.