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The Big Thrill Recommends: THE EXPLOIT by Daniel Scanlan

Recommended by Damyanti Biswas

Cover image of THE EXPLOITFrom author Daniel Scanlan comes THE EXPLOIT, sequel to The Hacker. Although the second in the series, it also reads well as a standalone.

A cat-and-mouse technothriller that spans the globe—from Brazil to Pakistan and beyond—it does so with an ease and sure-footedness reminiscent of international spy thrillers.

FBI special agent Ericka Blackwood is on the hunt for the narcissistic, diabolical, and brilliant hacker, Dantalion, who has graduated to cross-border terrorism. He’s able to hack the most secure organizations, thanks to his ability to find and compel a mole to physically introduce his toxic code into their computer systems. A hacker can be combated, but there’s no defence against a human weak link. Not even warships and military drones are safe from Dantalion.

Reminiscent of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, Blackwood makes for a captivating protagonist—broken, vengeful, and obsessive—besides being as intelligent as she’s resilient. She matches and foils the villain every step of the way.

The contest between the two creates a high-octane narrative, a spell-binding, tense story woven through many points-of-view. An uncomfortable, graphic read at times, it builds to a tense crescendo and one of the eeriest endings in a thriller. The scope and twistiness of the narrative lend themselves to the format of a long TV series, and I hope someone makes it soon.

The author’s note at the end is almost scarier than the novel. Given his career as a lawyer who has dealt with cybercrime, it is chilling to note that all the hacking in the book is well within the realm of possibility. It makes you want to drop your phone into the soup and run for the hills, a testament to this author’s ability to write a thriller that hits close to home.


The Big Thrill Recommends: THE EXPLOIT by Daniel Scanlan

Damyanti Biswas