Bottom Line: While grounded in reality, Remote Access is a must-read with a singular sense of escapism rare in a political thriller.
Annie Logan spends another lonely night with too much wine and social media, someone takes control of her computer. If this sounds like just another ransomware attack, think again. Logan, who is married to the president’s chief of staff, is faced with this threat: stop the president from signing an impeding executive order, or face far-reaching and deadly consequences.
Remote Access is the perfect entry point for new Barry Finlay fans, as well as those already familiar with his power pair, engaged couple Nathan Harris and Marcie Kane. Together, Harris and Kane discover a sociopath with hacking skills and various poisons who has been hired by the Chinese government to stop the president from signing the executive order. Add in foreign governments and biological weapons, and Finlay has created a book that will appeal to readers on both sides of the aisle.
While it looks like the work that could come from a network of shady characters, our heroes discover that it's more about cyber crime than established terror syndicates. The engaged couple's back-and-forth adds a fun addition to the story, and the high-octane pace and high-stakes situations get even deeper with their relationship in the mix. Remote Access is recommended for both general thriller fans as well as anyone fascinated by the dark art of hacking.
reviewed by Joe Kilgore
"As he rounded the corner into the hall, Cheung’s parting words echoed through the open door. 'Make sure it doesn’t fail, Mr. Lee. You will not like the consequences if it does.'"
This story definitely has a “ripped from the headlines” feel. It revolves around a mercurial President of the United States who is both loved and hated in equal measure. His consideration of slapping China with trade tariffs leads to multiple instances of mayhem that threaten both government officials and innocent bystanders.
Finlay paints a frighteningly realistic picture of two of the things people often fear today—terrorism and cybercrime. When a freelance computer hacker, who doubles as an assassin, sets a plan in motion to make sure the US President doesn’t impose tariffs, malevolence multiplies rapidly. A secret-selling bureaucrat gets more than he bargained for. The wife of the President’s Chief of Staff has her identity stolen and her sanity assaulted. An FBI consultant and his fiancé are swept into a race against time to find and stop an unknown villain whose tactics just might be trending toward mass casualties.
The author's pace moves at Internet speed. With the introduction of each principal character, just enough backstory is provided to heighten interest. Scenes play out cinematically. From assignations in high-priced hotels to intricate computer setups in seedy apartment buildings, the narrative unwinds, almost climaxes, then regenerates itself into a heart-stopping finale. Finlay is a skilled writer who seems just as at home with computer criminality as he is with human frailty, friendship, and hope. His story feels authentic whether he’s describing fast-acting physical paralysis or slow-moving relationship disintegration. If you like crisp, well-crafted storytelling that's as contemporary as today, you really should log on to Remote Access.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review