A computer programmer becomes the target of international criminals in Diamond’s (Warren Lane, 2015) thriller.
Russ Eugene “Genie” Fitzpatrick, now approaching 30, works as an app developer in Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Russ used to be a programmer with fellow code-nerd Charles Allen “Hatter” Taylor in San Francisco, but the two haven’t seen each other in four years. Hacker Charlie got into deep trouble in the underground “dark web,” and while he had the FBI on his tail, he also had multiple women on the string, including his latest muse, Cali. “You’re just as devious as I am,” he once told Russ. “Only I embrace my inner deviant….And you run from yours.” But Russ stops running from aberrance after Charlie’s car goes off a cliff and his body is found, charred, with a bullet hole in the skull. Soon Russ gets heavily involved in a world of code cracking and head cracking, linked to an online market for illegal and/or stolen items called the Twilight Bazaar, known as “the ATM of the dark web” for global criminal organizations. After its servers suddenly go down, international thugs think Charlie may have given Russ an encryption key to the site—and its millions of dollars. Russ, however, is less concerned with money than he is with Cali; his heart goes vroom when he first sees a photo of her in front of a cherry-red Impala. Along the way, she tells him, “You dwell on the details….Most people let the little things slide.” The same could be said of author Diamond himself, who gets all the little things right, as well as the big ones, in this riveting novel. Details, such as the sound of silver bracelets jangling at a key moment, the thirst for a Mountain Dew after a rough night, and the moldy smell of a cheap motel blanket, complement the main action. The dialogue, too, is right on the bitcoin when the characters are sober—and also believably unfocused when they are drunk or high, which is fairly often.
A convincing, complex cyberthriller.