A fast-moving thriller with a plot no thicker than a thumb drive.
Marc Bowman arrives early for work at AmeriTel and is summoned by CEO Roger LeBrock. “We’ve been extremely happy with the work you’ve done for us” as a contractor, LeBrock says, but you’re fired. Puzzled and peeved, Bowman steals a memory stick containing data on his project, information that's worth millions. Later he tells his wife, Carolyn, a regular AmeriTel employee. They bicker, which seems like their main mode of dialogue, and she walks out on him. The company knows he took the memory stick, and they want it back. Boy, do they ever. But why? It can’t be the data itself, as it’s duplicate information and there must be a nondisclosure agreement. A virus, perhaps? Bowman won’t give up the stick as people try to persuade him and even try to kill him for it. He has no idea whom to trust, even questioning Carolyn’s loyalty. Homeland Security wants to arrest him. Friends might be enemies. Allies might be foes. Luckily, mild-mannered and mildly annoying Bowman knows how to defend himself, and various people become corpses. (The story is told in the first person, so it’s no spoiler to say that he doesn’t become one of those corpses.) “I was sick of people attacking me,” he whines. Well, of course. “…Stealing my work.” No, it’s the company’s work. A theme pervading the book seems to be that you can trust no one, not even your spouse. Keep looking over your shoulder, because someone is about to stab you in the back. If the reader accepts the rather thin premise that evil people are going to swarm over a newly unemployed contract programmer for implausible reasons then the story turns out to be a lot of fun. Twists and surprises abound, the pace never slows, and the writing satisfies.
So go ahead, read and enjoy this one. Like a cone of cotton candy, it’s fast, fun and forgettable.