Reviewed for "Review the Book"
A cyber-mystery with a cast of characters many of whom I would like to give a good shake and others whose foibles I find myself laughing and shaking my head over. Debra Purdy Kong is an award-winning author and with this book she has gained another fan. With a family corporate business going down the drain and the threat of a cyber-attack on all their computers, the dysfunctional family has hired Alex Bellamy to try to break the encryption codes set to go off and destroy the corporation's system as part of a complicated extortion plan.
The action mostly takes place in Port Moody and Coquitlam, an area in the southwest corner of British Columbia near Vancouver, where I happened to grow up, and the details of the area are well-defined and familiar. The book is surprisingly wrapped around several families in a neighborhood very like the real thing. Hallowe'en plays a big role in both what happened before and how some of the crimes are solved. I say crimes, because besides the threatened cyber-crime, there are two separate murders. Are they connected to each other? Are they connected to the threat and extortion plan? One character in the book says it best, in a take-off of Sherlock Holmes, "...when you've eliminated the probable, look for the improbable or, in this case, the damn-near impossible".
Being suburbia, the neighborhood is fairly tight-knit, and gossip runs high. The same can be said for the threatened store and employees. This gives the opportunity for the author to play with the reader who is trying to solve the crimes before the characters do. The book is well-written, the characters interact exactly as they should. With three previous computer experts prior to hiring Alex, there are lots of opportunities for diversions, misdirections and straight-out lies. The book picks up momentum as it goes along until a flat out race to the end. An easy and enjoyable read, I expect it will be an interesting and exciting series, This is the second of the Alex Bellamy mystery series. I'll be curious about what he will get himself into next.