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Member Name: aefra
The Blue Nowhere - Jeffery Deaver
I and most like me are stumbling on the edge of things. We ask permission to step on pathways, move through already opened doors and think we are adventurers. But there are superior, nay supreme, keyboarders who will not be led or directed. Those who create their own secret portals and hidden passageways and, with infinite resource, evade pursuit as they seek and explore. Travelling at the speed of light they expose all the hidden places just because they can, then withdraw and fly onwards in pursuit of more. Such are the super hackers, like Wyatt Gillette who mean no harm and only need to know that they can overcome any challenge. But, as in the real world where light is balanced by dark, so it is in the Blue Nowhere. Here in secret corners of virtual space are to be found the Crackers, like Phate, who damage and infect and, when mischief turns to evil, kill.
Somewhere a killer is using "social engineering" to lure his victims. With the advantage of knowledge gained from their personal computer he is able to track, manipulate then win over his prey. More, he is choosing those with the tightest security. Yet this slayer is not intruding on emails, rather reaching deep within the computer itself and, using his own software, cannot be traced, stopped or reached by the finest cyber minds of the FBI. The only man who can prevent Phate from continuing his ultimate computer game is Wyatt Gillette - and he lies in solitary confinement for the peace of mind of the Defence Department. Released on licence, Wyatt flies out into the Blue Nowhere, reaching into a world in which he can create his own virtual step ladder to hidden highways as Phate, recognising his adversary, now has to evade discovery and capture, while still continuing the deadly game to which he is addicted and in turn pursue his enemy.
The pace of this novel is satisfyingly fast and we are permitted to get to know the characters and enough about their lives to care for their welfare or not. FBI agent Bishop, who initially had a more earthbound investigation to pursue and appeared disinterested in the case. Shelton, unlikeable and with scorn and disapproval for Wyatt and his ilk....... why should this irritating character possess such hatred for computers? Assisting with the operation is the unattractive Patricia Nolan, who seems unable to accept Wyatt's disinterest of her. As for likeable Wyatt Gillette, he is the ultimate pale nerd with fingers permanently calloused from keyboarding at 110 words per minute for days at a time, as equally addicted to the internet as Phate for reasons hidden in his own secret past.
As Wyatt and the FBI desperately try to establish Phate's true identity, their efforts are repeatedly thwarted by Phate's partner the mysterious Shawn. Who is Shawn, how close is he and does he observe from within or outside of the investigation? Vitally, what is his status in all this and is he playing a game of his own?
As author, Jeffery Deaver, took me on a breathtaking ride through cyberspace with Wyatt, I realised that this is not the cosy stuff of science fiction or fantasy, but a real possibility of today. The most naive among us are aware that our secret lives whether on our own PC's or on data bases can be accessed by the unscrupulous. Yet what if our actions could be manipulated by that knowledge? What if we could be made to believe a truth presented by another hiding within the intimacy of our computer, a godlike figure who can reach inside us from his own chosen distance? Supposing we could be lured by one who knows what no other person knows? Something which has not even been whispered on email? This is the reality of Phate's control of the Blue Nowhere and there is little time left if he is to be found and stopped.
For those of us for whom the computer world lies no further than just behind a pale screen, we do not have to worry about Jeffery Deaver blowing our minds with technology. I was able to follow the protagonists wherever they wanted to lead me with ease, however convulated the labrinth, as I held tight on to their coat tails and enjoyed the ride. I found this an absorbing, thrilling and satisfying crime novel which at 430 pages was exactly the right length. Despite the flight through Nowhere, the reader is allowed to keep one toe safely on the ground and I think this is one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much. Another is that Phate is not kept a secret from the reader and we are thus given a privileged view of the cyberspace as well as the earthbound battle.
My title is the apt name Phate gave to the entry to his secret world and the book may be purchased from Amazon for £5.59.
Summary: A psychological thriller encompassing cyberspace