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Bill Garwin
City of Schemes
Bill Garwin, author

The year is 2028 and the Feds have appropriated Northern California for the Great Experiment. They designate it “Norcal” and create satellite-enforced borders to protect the clinical purity of society’s most ambitious scientific and social advancements. Megan Garrity and her 13-year-old autistic son Nick, cannot resist the trafficker’s offer to be smuggled into Norcal. Megan will be given a new life, programs for Nick she never imagined possible. The dream becomes a nightmare. Norcal is a failed experiment co-opted by a corrupt kingpin armed with a hitman and a hacker employing the tremendous power of the Grid, internet taken to a never-before-seen level.
For reasons Megan cannot fathom, she and Nick become checkers on a chessboard in a battle between the kingpin and a vigilante hacker. Megan and Nick fight for survival as they struggle to bring the pieces of the puzzle into focus.


Thriller readers who enjoy high-octane adventure with nonstop twists and turns will find City of Schemes just the ticket for a thoroughly engrossing read.

The story is supercharged from its first paragraphs describing Megan Garrity's race through the San Francisco Bay waters at night in a blow-up boat. She's entrusted her survival and that of her shivering thirteen-year-old son Nick beside her to the Yellow Brick Road human smugglers.

 Megan isn't a criminal. She's a concerned mother on a mission to save her son: "Being a mother, Megan came to believe there were two sets of rules. One governed most everything, most every day. The other required you to do whatever you must for your child, which was why she was about to break into Norcal, a place of infinite opportunity."

 The "infinite opportunity" she perceives is about to become an infinite nightmare, opening doors to a breached experiment that began with the government's blessing and is now being run by a monster armed not only with the biggest technological advancements in existence, but the power of an alternate Internet-type system, the Grid.

Megan didn't go looking for trouble. YBR reached out and found her. She'd never thought of breaking the rules, before. Now she's doing nothing but breaking everything around her. The story that opens with a bang just gets fierier and more absorbing as hacker and leader Walrus assigns an anarchist detective to follow her, only to find that Boty and Bob have intercepted her, first.

 Why is Megan in the crosshairs of so many forces? What does her special son Nick have to do with these plots and ploys?

 William Garwin's story is set against the backdrop of San Francisco and embraces its streets, culture, sights, and sounds. San Francisco natives will enjoy this backdrop, which is the perfect choice for the intrigue that revolves around Megan and the disparate special forces that operate under the city's different layers of street culture.

 The action is unrelenting, characterization and intrigue well done and built to attract and maintain attention, and the story line's blend of high-tech threat and human clashes on various levels keeps readers engrossed.

 Most of all, the believable character of a concerned mother who is drawn into affairs far beyond her comfort zone or knowledge keeps the action personal and intriguing.

As the Norcal projects and intentions unfold, the puzzles intersect and become even more complex and satisfying. Readers are invited to absorb moral and ethical decision-making dilemmas as the line between good and bad guys blurs.

 Garwin's ability to introduce a wide range of special interests and characters, with chases and action moving from San Francisco to beyond the Bay Area, keeps his story edgy and engrossing. It's just the ticket for an escape into a world laced with real places and influential rebels whose intentions to do good become diverted and sometimes corrupted in unexpected ways.