I just finished rereading this suspenseful thriller by Jeffery Deaver. In The Blue Nowhere, convicted hacker Wyatt gets released from prison to help the Computer Crimes unit track down a hacker who is murdering people. That alone draws a reader in, doesn’t it? The full blurb reads:
His code name is Phate — a sadistic computer hacker who infiltrates people’s computers, invades their lives, and with chilling precision lures them to their deaths.
To stop him, the authorities free imprisoned former hacker Wyatt Gillette to aid the investigation. Teamed with old-school homicide detective Frank Bishop, Gillette must combine their disparate talents to catch a brilliant and merciless killer.
In the beginning, we start rather slow as Wyatt is getting acquainted with what’s going on and trying to look for clues. As they get closer to the killer, and Wyatt figures out he used to know him, things get a lot more suspenseful. Officers die, Wyatt is shot at, team members aren’t who they appear to be, … The book reads as a freight train from start to finish. The author masterfully weaves a web of deception so thick you don’t know who to trust or what exactly is going on. It seems as almost nobody is who they appear to be.
I also really liked the way the author portrays the computer element. Hacking is really an important part of this book, and he doesn’t shy away from diving into it, having the hacker explain what he is doing to the less technologically versed teammates. The book was first published back in 2001 so it does feel a little outdated at times, but the technical stuff still holds up today. You can tell he’s really versed on computer science (or had a lot of help from actual experts). I’m not a hacker or a computer expert myself, but being a digital native I know my way around computers and the internet – and I couldn’t find any faults or inconsistencies.
It’s a rather thick book, so I do recommend you pick it up when you have some time to spare. It’s a great weekend of vacation read for those of us who are not computer experts but know their way around and who love a good suspenseful book where nothing is what it seems. Also, I found Wyatt Gilette quite a relatable character: he isn’t all good but he certainly isn’t bad. His curiosity and ignorance of the rules has caused him some problems but he is trying hard to turn his life around – for himself and those he loves. The fact that he has an ex-wife around, only humanizes and motivates him more.
If you know of any more similar books, where the computer stuff mostly works (otherwise it will annoy the crap out of me), I’d love to hear your recommendations!