Book News

Maximum ImpactCoD CoverHere are a few favorite reviews and reader comments on the first book.

Please feel free to post your thoughts, and I’ll add new items as I get them.



Between the Lines, 01/08.

Jack Henderson’s CIRCUMFERENCE OF DARKNESS (Bantam pb 12/07) is so good, you’ll have a hard time believing it’s a first novel. The plot is terrific: a brilliant computer hacker, known as Phr33k, is abducted by terrorists who want him to help them bring down the U.S. The country’s only hope for survival: a beautiful 22-year-old prodigy, Jeannie Reese, who, after 9/11, designed the country’s new high-tech surveillance system. This is the sort of story Michael Crichton could knock out of the park, but Henderson doesn’t need Crichton’s help to hit a homer. An exciting, suspenseful, and frighteningly plausible near-future thriller.

December 26, 2007: CoD Paperback is available!CoD is now out in paperback!.Listen to the radio ad that’s running for the new paperback edition of Circumference of Darkness:

Buy the book here.

Wall Street Journal ad for Circumference of Darkness .Bantam Dell, the U.S. publisher of Circumference of Darkness, ran a nice ad in the Wall Street Journal during launch week. Click the image to the left to see it.


Publishing News Essay .Publishing News, U.K., May 18, 2007.Publishing News ran a full-page essay on the origins of the book, and it’s available here.


Register-Pajaronian Online, July 26, 2007

A suspenseful, action packed techno-thriller with beguiling characters, this highly imaginative debut novel marks Jack Henderson as a rising star in the genre. From start to finish, “Circumference of Darkness” is a riveting page turner of the highest quality.

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BookLoons, July 25, 2007

Circumference of Darkness is a very intelligent, high-tech thriller whose protagonists are super-geeks. You know you’re in good hands from the initial Einstein quote, ‘As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.‘ The villains are conspiracy theorists, the good guys soon join them, and by the end of this impossible to put down debut novel the reader is sold too.

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Contra Costa Times, July 15, 2007

Be prepared to be awed, amazed and scared silly by the information your government routinely tracks in its efforts to keep you safe. “Darkness” is a high-tech “1984.”

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The Day, July 9, 2007
Currently, my favorite review of the book:

This is the ultimate paranoid conspiracy thriller in a high-tech package, and the action roars by like a fast train full of caffeinated comic book writers…

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Times of London, June 2, 2007

Jack Henderson’s nail-bitingly tense Maximum Impact (Hachette, CDs, £15.99, offer £14.39) takes place in the electronic battlezone, opening in a cybergenius’s screen-lined, robot-run apartment on the day of the destruction of the World Trade Centre. John Fagan watches with more disbelief than most: the double hit was the opening of a multi-faceted strike on the US that he had outlined in principle 18 years before in an internet chatroom favoured by antieverything nerds. It emerges that his plan did indeed inspire one of them, now placed high in darkest neocon territory and eager to locate Fagan and to create even more damage.

But the Feds are on to him, led by Jeannie Reese, a woman who was a maths prodigy and chess grandmaster at the age of 6 and hasn’t looked back. Kerry Shale reads with clipped menace, dry humour and nicely varied pace, making even the most fantastical science, and the unexpected romance between Fagan and Reese, convincing.

-Christina Hardyment

Maximum Impact is a highly imaginative, relentlessly paced page-turner. Jack Henderson gives us two of the brainiest heroes in thriller fiction and a frightening scenario of terrorist Armaggedon. It’s a roller-coaster read in the best tradition of Tom Clancy.”

Jeff Abbott, author of the bestselling novels Fear and Panic

Circumference of Darkness is the best debut I’ve read in a long time. Henderson has the kind of talent that doesn’t come along every day and is sure to win him wide acclaim.”

Kyle Mills, New York Times bestselling author of The Second Horseman

BookList (Starred Review)

The publishers are touting this near-future (as in just around the corner) thriller as a debut novel, but it’s so accomplished that readers will be astounded to think that it could have come from a first novelist. The plot is terrific: a brilliant computer hacker, known as Phr33k, is abducted by terrorists who want him to help them bring down the U.S. The country’s only hope for survival: a beautiful 22-year-old prodigy, Jeannie Reese, who, after 9/11, designed the country’s new high-tech surveillance system.

The characters are sharply drawn; the narrative moves at a brisk clip (while slowing down frequently enough to let us catch our breath and digest information); and the dialogue, while peppered with technical lingo, flows smoothly, as though it were spoken by actual human beings. This really is quite an achievement and something of a rarity: a high-tech thriller with believable characters and a meaningful story. It’s the kind of thing Michael Crichton does well when he’s at the top of his game, but that most wannabe thriller writers never manage to pull off. Henderson looks like the real thing; watch him closely.

– David Pitt, BookList

In his debut, Jack Henderson acts like a veteran thriller writer with strong plotting, solid three dimensional characterizations (especially the lead misfits) and exciting action adventure scenarios that grip readers from the onset. CIRCUMFERENCE OF DARKNESS is one of the best the thrillers to come along in years. The two protagonists are social misfits trying to save the world that neither feels comfortable in. Readers will admire their courage and perseverance.

– Harriet Klausner, #1 Ranked Reviewer on

WOW! This is a complex, riveting thriller that engrosses readers and intertwines them in unimaginable possibilities. I didn’t set this book down until I’d read the last intriguing page.

– Mandy Burns,


  1. duckie

    debut writer:
    9:11 conspiricy theories:
    these are things that usually add up to a half baked paperback,
    but with Maximum Impact (Ireland) Mr Henderson has created a feast of
    a novel that will leave you spinning and demanding more from
    this tallented genius…………and wondering what if!!!

  2. Ian Livingston

    I have never been a big reader, I am not what you would call a book worm. Catch 22 was lost on me. Try as i might, and I did several times, i never made it past page 42. So whats the point. Well this is the book that got me back to reading. Thats the point. Pure entertainement. Not since i picked up “Rats” by James Herbert have i started a book and not wanted to let sleep overtake me till i finished. Not since “Mr Murder” by Dean Koontz have i lived, breathed and drunk up every drop of ink on the pages before me. Bookwise I may be a luddite (not a clown); films seem to hit the spot for me but this was in everyway a genius of textual pictures that sent my mind back into the imaginative realm it hasnt known since watching JFK. You know! The scene with costner and sutherland on the bench. This was for me the flying daggers of the literary world. I saw every plot in glorious detail and let it flow through me to its fantastic conclusion. Thanks Jack for the ride. It certainly made an impact with me. Maximum!

  3. Ian Livingston

    Oops. I meant “catcher in the rye” was lost on me!

  4. Pete Kennedy

    Hi Jack,

    Just to let you know I bought your book on Monday this week and finished it by Thursday evening. What a page turner!!!! A really enjoyable new twist on the 9/11 attacks and a scary what could have happened next scenario. Excellent plot, well developed characters and plenty of technical detail without being too geeky.

    I really enjoyed it and look forward to any future publications.

    What a way to make a debut.



  5. Dave Henderson

    Hi, I picked up your book mainly because Jack was my dad’s name & he loved this sort of book. I have been unable to put it down! About 200 pages left & I am going to finish it tonight. Cannot wait to see how it ends.

  6. Peter

    Great book Jack !! Right up my street. My sense is that your ending left the door open for a sequel. The bit about John blinking when Kate did not understand his question – could Kate actually be IRIN and she didnt really survive but IRIN is now gone covert and has taken over John’s house? Why mention the bit about being with the girl in the room…..

  7. Tony

    A really gripping read from start to finish – one of the great ones – one you won’t forget but will come back to grab you where it most captures your attention. I sincerely hope Jack isn’t a one-hit-wonder – I am waiting with bated breath for his next work.

    Go for it – you rock!!!!

  8. Tony

    Please not a sequel!!

  9. ·

    Hey, Tony,
    Thanks for your first comment, but let me answer the second. The book I’m writing now is a continuation of the story begun in the first novel, so I suppose that makes it a sequel.
    You shouldn’t worry, I don’t think, that I’m planning to milk a franchise here, if that’s your concern. There’s a very legitimate Part II to the story these characters opened up in the first book, and there will be a third and final part, too.
    Trust me, Tony, if I don’t love it, I won’t publish it.

  10. Sabrina

    Hmmm a sequel? Well I can’t wait. From Maximum Impact (England) I feel personally
    acqainted with Fagan and Reese and would love to see how their characters
    develop along with Kate’s increasing ability to ‘sense’. The book was
    definitely a fly by the seat of your pants, heart pounding, eye-widening
    page turner.
    Each step into its thickening plot was so intricately carved and delicately
    described I felt I was there,a helpless bystander willing for the
    perpetraitors of justice to be hung and quartered. Captured my imagination
    from beginning to end and I was never disappointed. Thank you, I say.

  11. ·


  12. George


  13. ·

    Hi Jack.
    This is a really superb book for me. I cant say I am a regular reader but know what I like (Lee Child especially)
    I was recommended to read your book and am not yet finished, however I think it is superb.
    I am a computer and military history geek (of a great age) and you hit all the buttons with this book.
    I can now say I have read (or am reading) a book “I couln’t put down”. It is fantastic!
    Bring on book 2.
    Cheers and thank you.
    Tony hodge

  14. Steve Scott

    Hi there Jack.

    I have just finished reading your book, Maximum Impact (UK Edition) and logged on after catching your website address within the last pages.

    What can I say? You’re the first author I’ve ever read that’s kept me hooked to a story till I read the last page. I regularly read Clive Cussler, James Patterson, Tom Clancy and Dean Koontz but as far as I’m concerned, you just blew them away with your first book. WOW! I’m not a geek at all, but you made it very easy for someone like me to follow your imagination and picture it all from start to finish. I’m wondering though, will John actually pay the truck driver who gave him a lift along with the kids? LOL.

    Thanks very much for entertaining me over the past three days, Jack. I certainly look forward to the ‘sequel!’


    Steve Scott (England).

  15. Anthony

    Hi there, Jack. I started reading this the day before yesterday, as soon as my dad finished it. I’m not normally into this kind of thing, all the conspiracy theory… but I certainly am a great fan of the work of Frederick Forsyth, which I was instantly reminded of (Avenger, in particular… my last great read) and I am also a great lover of dystopias, so I was very impressed, though this is certainly not entirely down to the 1984 and Orwell references). This book is absolutely stunning, I am very impressed… as an unpublished writed myself it is reassuring to see how succesful a first novel can be.

    Looking forward to the sequel very much.

  16. Tom

    Amazing! Just finished the first book, immediately bought the second! Thought the characters were really interesting and detailed and glad to hear they will be returning! After reading half the first book couldn’t put it down and finished it in one night. It really was one of the best books I’ve ever read and I firmly believe Kate is the best character in any book, ever!

    Terrific Stuff! Thanks for creating a great story!

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