Face-Look is the world’s largest social media company. When that company’s president is brutally murdered, the FBI investigates. As more people are killed, former Special Forces soldier John (J. T.) Ryan and FBI Assistant Director Erin Welch are assigned to the case. Ryan and Erin delve into the mystery and begin to uncover a vast criminal conspiracy behind the murders. A conspiracy involving not just Face-Look, but also the world’s other social media and high-tech corporations.
As more people are murdered, Ryan pursues the secret cabal of criminals across the USA, Japan, and Europe. The dangerous and harrowing journey takes him from the mansions of the super-rich to the gritty back streets of the criminal underworld. There he learns the ultimate goal of the secret group known only as Viper. A goal so explosive it will cause the collapse of the American economy.
Can John Ryan and Erin Welch capture the murderous criminals before they themselves are killed?
Award-winning author Lee Gimenez took time out of his busy day to speak with The Big Thrill about his latest J. T. Ryan thriller, CROSSFIRE:
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was finding out the inner workings of social media companies. I spent several months researching this topic at length before starting to write my book.
The biggest opportunity of this book was the incredibly large impact social media has on our daily lives. For example, several polls and surveys indicate that a large portion of the American public receives their news from social media companies.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
The plot of CROSSFIRE revolves around the potential for criminal activity taking place in the social media world. During current times, social media has become a focal point of communication in many people’s lives. I wanted to highlight the potential dangers when these types of platforms are corrupted by outside criminal forces, and criminal forces within these companies. Social media companies can also be misused to disseminate false information and news.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Several authors have influenced my career as a writer. They include David Baldacci, Brad Thor, Robert B. Parker, Lee Child, and Janet Evanovich.
These authors create suspense-filled, action-driven novels, with timely plots. I enjoy reading these types of mystery thrillers and like to create books with a similar feel to them.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
The inner workings of the social media platforms surprised me. Content on social media is controlled by “curators,” employees assigned to select topics and sources of news that are then posted online. The power these “curators” (and the bosses who control them) have is tremendous. If these people have criminal intent, they have an incredible power to blackmail and commit theft and other crimes.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
My main character is John (J. T.) Ryan, a private investigator who works for the FBI. He’s a tough, take-no-prisoners type of guy who also has a humorous side to him. I use that humor to relieve the tension of the deadly situation he deals with. Ryan works for Erin Welch, an FBI Assistant Director who runs the Bureau’s Atlanta office. The two of them have a close working relationship, a relationship that creates its own drama and conflict.
Lee Gimenez is the award-winning author of 15 books, including his highly-acclaimed J. T. Ryan series. His latest mystery is CROSSFIRE, a J. T. Ryan Thriller. Lee is a nominee for the 2019 Author Academy Award and was a multi-year nominee for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. He was also a Finalist in the prestigious Terry Kay Prize for Fiction. All of his books are available in paperback and e-book versions in the US and Internationally. Lee served as an officer in the US Army and during his business management career worked for several Fortune 500 companies. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech University and later received his MBA. Please join him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.