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The Blue Nowhere    by Jeffery Deaver order for
Blue Nowhere
by Jeffery Deaver
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jeffery Deaver once more demonstrates his versatility with a novel approach, in which he gives us his usual serial killer, but tied into an education on the Internet and the world of hackers. The tale's protagonist is genius hacker, Wyatt Gillette, pulled out of a California jail to assist the Computer Crimes Unit in tracking down cracker Phate. A cracker, we are informed, is a hacker who applies his skills to do damage - in this case to 'social engineer' a murder.

Phate has developed a brilliant piece of software, named Trapdoor, that lets him link to victims' computers and observe what their users are doing. He uses it to accumulate detailed information about people's lives and relationships that allows him to get close enough to abduct and kill them. It turns out that Wyatt and Phate were once close, until Phate succumbed to his childhood demons and used his skills to kill in the 'Blue Nowhere' that is more present to him than the real world.

Deaver never keeps his plot simple and this one twists and turns nicely, though not quite at the level of his best works. There is a mole in the Computer Crimes Unit, emailing information to Phate, and the author shifts suspicion amongst the group. Wyatt's desire to help is hindered by team members' distrust and by the feds' directive to get him back in jail and away from potential 'access'. In The Blue Nowhere, Deaver has given us another gripping read that capitalizes on current concerns about the misuse of computers to invade privacy - a fascinating combination.

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