(2 stars)

Kieren McCarthy (Quercus)


Kieren McCarthy’s is like a long, laborious grind without the payoff of a money shot. It chronicles one of the most strung-out, controversial legal battles in recent US history, that between web entrepreneur Gary Kremen and notorious conman Stephen Cohen over ownership of the ‘’ web domain, the ‘jewel in the internet’s crown’.

With tens of millions of dollars at stake, and the burgeoning online porn industry as a backdrop, you’d think McCarthy couldn’t fail to draw a compelling read from such seedy affairs. He seems obsessed, however, with the trial’s length rather than girth, opting to recount each claim, counter claim, twist and turn in detail over its 12 years, rather than attempting to fully explore its two intriguing combatants, one a crystal meth-addicted Stanford graduate, the other a genius career criminal. It’s meticulously researched and not without colour but ultimately succeeds in leaving you exhausted and unfulfilled.

(Malcolm Jack)

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