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Paperback Details
  • 09/2023
  • 979-8-9885133-0-8
  • 448 pages
  • $16.99
Alexander Plansky
Author
Grim Trigger

TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

In the wake of a controversial Supreme Court decision, a firestorm of civil unrest erupts on both ends of the political spectrum.

As Los Angeles grapples with the turmoil, a woman is found murdered inside an office building, mere feet from the most powerful quantum computer ever created.

The next day, whitehat hacker Isabella Cray hears from an old flame, unexpectedly in town and acting strange. Before she knows it, Cray’s life is turned upside-down, her ex-lover vanishes, and the FBI is asking her questions.

Reunited with Special Agent Will Fraser, Cray embarks on a quest for answers that will take her from the riot-torn streets of L.A. to the scorching badlands of the High Desert.

Crossing paths with an ex-Stasi billionaire, national-anarchist radicals, and desperate cybercriminals, Cray and Fraser race to unravel the truth as a devastating technology hangs in the balance--and before a ruthless adversary can exploit the divided nation for their own nefarious agenda...

Reviews
Named for an especially brutal game theory stratagem, this standalone second novel in Plansky’s Cray and Fraser series, a mystery involving a murder at a tech company, a psychopathic hacker who has recently made a turn from blackhat to whitehat, and the world’s most powerful quantum computer, all as Los Angeles—and the U.S.—is caught in a whirlwind of protest, civil unrest, and cyber-crime. Enter FBI Special Agent Will Fraser, who knows that hacker, Isabella Cray, from a previous case. With Cray’s ex-love gone missing, and the FBI eager to know why, she and Fraser find themselves fighting their way through the streets of Los Angeles, the desolation of the High Desert, and more, negotiating with national anarchist radicals, Antifa, ruthless billionaires and cyber-criminals for hire.

The cast is large and varied, the twists and reveals numerous, and the subject matter is fairly timely, drawing from contemporary wide political, socioeconomic and racial divides. Cray is a big personality who isn't always the easiest to cheer for—with her psychopathy, the author works hard to show her as a multidimensional person who struggles every day to relate in a way that is socially acceptable to the world around her. Cray and Fraser trust each other most of the time, but not always, as few in this fast-paced story are who or what they say they are, and danger is around every corner and behind every door.

Readers versed in radicalized political movements will have no trouble keeping track of who is fighting for what, though some preferring simpler, more fantastical fare may have to work to keep up. Action is crisp, bursts of violence jolt, and the of-the-moment plotting is urgent, compelling, and convincing. Setting the series apart is Plansky’s refusal to offer a simple "hero,” making the bold choice to foreground Cray’s challenging, polarizing personality. This entry is well researched and steeped in its moment, a juicy read for consumers of the genre.

Takeaway: Juicy, of-the-moment thriller of hackers, a psychopath, and the FBI.

Comparable Titles: Daniel Scanlan’s The Hacker, Blake Pierce’s Just Me.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 09/2023
  • 979-8-9885133-0-8
  • 448 pages
  • $16.99
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