The fourth entry in Breakfield and Burkey’s (The Enigma Ignite, 2014, etc.) techno-thriller series pits the R-Group against a seemingly untraceable computer virus and what could be a full-scale digital assault.
A series of cyberattacks targets an Irish bank, a Texas winery and a hydroelectric dam in Brazil, among other places. They also attract the R-Group, an organization specializing in information gathering and analysis. The rogue code leaves messages behind, calling itself the Ghost Code, before apparently wiping clear any evidence of its existence. Jacob, his love, Petra, and the rest of the team believe these attacks are indicative of “training exercises” that precede a much larger strike. The R-Group’s involvement becomes personal when Juan’s plane is hacked; there’s a possibility that he’s dead after communication is lost. Juan’s brother Carlos and Juan’s newly pregnant lover, Julie, go undercover to stop Zara, a beautiful cyberassassin, who may play a part in the Ghost Code and who, interestingly enough, could pass for a Petra doppelgänger. The authors’ latest novel—their fastest-paced yet—dives headfirst into the plot and maintains an engaging mystery based on the R-Group’s investigation. The person responsible for the Ghost Code, they discover, is Mephisto, corresponding with hacker Callisto, though the true identities behind the handles aren’t initially clear. There’s a veritable hodgepodge of characters, most of whom are returning, but the authors include context for new readers without weighing the story down with a laborious retread. As in prior novels, characters are colorful and indelible. Zara is particularly engrossing. She was a dominatrix at a young age, which instilled in her an obsessive desire for control. There’s even a sex scene with Zara in which she humiliates her bodyguard, Dante; while it’s evident what’s happening, the scene manages to be as subdued as the rest of the novel, with few vulgar words. The main plot ends with over 50 pages remaining, so while the coda might have been better were it truncated, it once again leaves room for another sequel.
Another stellar installment. Breakfield and Burkey show no signs of slowing down in an ever improving series.