Aloysius Tucker goes up against the HackMaster.
It all starts when Tucker’s cousin, 10-year-old Maria Rizzo, gets life-ruined by someone who hacks into her Facebook account and bombards her friends with lesbian porn—a tactic that particularly riles Maria’s aunt and guardian, Adriana, and her wife, Catherine. It’s only natural that they turn to a computer security consultant like Tucker (Child Not Found, 2016, etc.) for help, and it’s scarcely less natural that Tucker, once he’s identified the hacker Runway as Peter Olinsky, the older brother of one of Maria’s Facebook friends, should get in his virtual face, barging into a chat room and responding to Runway’s taunts about his wife’s death: “I’m going to fucking cut your head off.” And of course it’s even more natural that Tucker’s visit to Peter next morning to videotape an apology he can share with Maria ends when he finds Peter’s headless corpse. Tucker can explain himself, more or less, to his FBI friend Bobby Miller and Bobby’s coldly beautiful colleague, Mel Hunter, but he can’t keep Runway’s online buddies in PwnSec from accusing him on #TuckerGate of killing Runway, publishing his address, and demanding vigilante justice. From this point on, Tucker should be doomed or at least intimidated by the numbers of his uninformed enemies into radio silence. But the killer he’s dubbed the HackMaster just can’t quit beheading the members of PwnSec, and eventually there aren’t enough suspects left to keep Tucker guessing any longer.
Daniel keeps dropping his hero into deeper and deeper trouble. His first three cases have left him with precious little to lose, though, and this outing, despite some nasty revelations about cyberbullying, is the most upbeat of the four.