A disgraced computer hacker gets a chance at redemption when the case that turned him to the dark side 10 years ago gets reopened in this sturdy debut thriller.
You would have thought that Gibson Vaughn’s life had already had drama enough. When he was still in high school, his cyberattack against Sen. Benjamin Lombard nearly sent him to prison and did send him to the Marines. When the documents he’d leaked indicating that Lombard had redirected his campaign funds to a private Cayman Islands account were pronounced forgeries and the financial shenanigans laid at the feet of Gibson’s father, Lombard’s chief of staff, Duke Vaughn hanged himself. Two years later, Lombard’s daughter, Gibson’s childhood friend Suzanne, ran away from home and disappeared without a trace despite a $10 million reward offered by her godmother, D.C. kingmaker Calista Dauplaise. Now that he’s just lost his IT position and Vice President Lombard is running for the top job, Gibson’s approached with another job offer. WR8TH, the faceless buddy who befriended Suzanne in a chat room before she vanished, has resurfaced online, and George Abe, Lombard’s ex–security chief, wants Gibson to help locate him. In no time at all, Gibson’s insinuated himself into the thick of a power struggle among highly placed political players and their hired guns, a bevy of no-goodniks so ruthless they make the pedophile suspects Abe and Gibson end up tracking look like so many innocents caught in the Web.
Writing with swift efficiency, FitzSimmons shows why the stakes are high, the heroes suitably tarnished, and the bad guys a pleasure to foil—even though, with so many sharpies playing so many angles, it’s hard to care when, or even whether, any single fish takes the bait.