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Gone Viral
J. A. Knight, author
What if you could rule the world ... from your phone? Computer science graduate Lenny Driver dreams of working at Blahst, a top social media company. But when the company steals his code during a job interview, he lashes back by creating an algorithm to spread fake rumors about the company. The algorithm works better than he ever intended, and Lenny is stunned to discover that he has created a weapon of mass manipulation. As he explores his newfound power, the unintended consequences spiral out of control, and Lenny finds himself hunted not only by Blahst but by a rogue intelligence agent who will stop at nothing to obtain the algorithm's secret.
Fans of intelligent thrillers about potential technological threats will relish Knight’s promising debut. After Lenny Driver crashes and burns in his effort to land a job with Blahst, the Massachusetts-based “coolest web company in the world,” his roommate finds him a position with Healthway Research International, a small nonprofit group that focuses on AIDS prevention in third world countries. After Lenny uses up much of the organization’s funding in an unauthorized experiment targeting Burundi, he deploys a viral algorithm that creates personalized appeals for money across a range of social media sites to repair the damage he caused. His scheme quickly raises enough money for Healthway to cover what he spent—and much more, which is sent directly to Burundi. But that influx of cash leads the Burundi government to back out of a deal with a crooked U.S. senator, who asks a shadowy intelligence agent to find out what triggered the windfall. Knight maintains suspense throughout while making her projections about viral social media both plausible and comprehensible to the lay reader. (BookLife)