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The Blue Nowhere : A Novel Hardcover – May 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this 21st century version of the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," two computer wizards engage in the kind of high-tech combat that only a hacker could love. Wyatt Gillette, a cybergenius who's never used his phenomenal talent for evil, is sitting in a California jail doing time for a few harmless computer capers when he gets a temporary reprieve--a chance to help the Computer Crimes Unit of the state police nail a cracker (a criminally inclined hacker) called Phate who's using his ingenious program, Trapdoor, to lure innocent victims to their death by infiltrating their computers. Gillette and Phate were once the kings of cyberspace--the Blue Nowhere of the title--but Phate has gone way past the mischievous electronic pranks they once pulled and crossed over to the dark side. While Trapdoor can hack its way into any computer, it's Phate's skill at "social engineering" as well as his remarkable coding ability that makes him such a menace to society. As Wyatt explains to the policeman who springs him from prison so that he can find and stop Phate before he kills again, "It means conning somebody, pretending you're someone you're not. Hackers do it to get access to data bases and phone lines and pass codes. The more facts about somebody you can feed back to them, the more they believe you and the more they'll do what you want them to."

Bestselling author Jeffery Deaver (The Empty Chair, The Devil's Teardrop) ratchets up the suspense one line of code at a time; his terrific pacing drives the narrative to a thrilling and explosive conclusion. This thriller is bound to induce paranoia in anyone who still believes he can hide his deepest secrets from anyone with the means, motive, and modem to ferret them out. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

How do you write a truly gripping thriller about people staring into computer screens? Many have tried, none have succeeded until now. Leave it to Deaver, the most clever plotter on the planet, to do it by simply applying the same rules of suspense to onscreen action as to offscreen. Much of the action in this novel about the hunt for an outlaw hacker turned homicidal maniac does takes place in the real world, but much else plays out in cyberspace as a team of California homicide and computer crime cops chase the infamous "wizard" hacker known as Phate. The odds run against the cops. With his skills, Phate can not only change identities at will (a knack known as "social engineering" in hacking parlance) but can manipulate all computerized records about himself. The cops have a wizard of their own, however: a former online companion of Phate's, a hacker doing time for having allegedly cracked the Department of Defense's encryption program. He's Wyatt Gillette, coveting Pop-Tarts (the hacker's meal of choice) and computers, but also the wife he lost when he went to prison and it's his tortured personality that gives this novel its heart as Wyatt is sprung from prison, but only for as long as it takes to track down Phate. The mad hacker, meanwhile, no longer able to discern between the virtual and the real, has adapted a notorious online role-playing game to the world of flesh and blood, with innocent humans as his prey. As he twists suspense and tension to gigahertz levels, Deaver springs an astonishing number of surprises on the reader: Who is Phate's accomplice? What are Wyatt's real motives? Who is the traitor among the cops? His real triumph, though, is to make the hacker world come alive in all its midnight, reality-cracking intensity. This novel is, in hacker lingo, "totally moby" the most exciting, and most vivid, fiction yet about the neverland hackers call "the blue nowhere." Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684871270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684871271
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (277 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffery Deaver was born outside of Chicago in 1950. His father was an advertising copywriter and his mother was a homemaker. He has one younger sister who writes novels for teenagers ' Julie Reece Deaver.

Deaver wrote his first book ' which consisted of two entire chapters ' when he was eleven, and he's been writing ever since. An award-winning poet and journalist, he has also written and performed his own songs around the country. After receiving a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri, Deaver worked as a magazine writer, then, to gain the background needed to become a legal correspondent for The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, he enrolled at Fordham Law School. After graduation he decided to practice law for a time and worked for several years as an attorney for a large Wall Street firm. It was during his long commute to and from the office that he began writing the type of fiction he enjoyed reading: suspense novels. In 1990 he started to write full time.

The author of twenty-two novels, Deaver has been nominated for six Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony award, a Gumshoe Award, and is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year. In 2001, he won the W.H. Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his Lincoln Rhyme novel The Empty Chair. In 2004, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain's Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Garden Of Beasts and the Short Story Dagger for "The Weekender." Translated into 35 languages, his novels have appeared on a number of bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the London Times and the Los Angeles Times. The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme. A Maiden's Grave was made into an HBO film retitled Dead Silence, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin.

Jeff has also released two collections of his short stories, called Twisted and More Twisted.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lawrence on May 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book surprised me on many levels, and I start by saying that I highly recommend it. As a person who likes to savor books, I read this one in two evenings. After Speaking in Tongues, I was a little wary of getting excited about another Jeffery Deaver's book. But as a programmer, I decide to pick it up because it is about something I have an interest in. Wyatt Gillette, a convicted felon, and the California Computer Crimes Unit attempt to stop a man, and an unknown accomplice, who uses his computer for the ultimate evil: murder. Jeffery Deaver throws out a few curve balls to keep the reader guessing, but avoids the unbelievable twists that seem to be rampant in thrillers. Generally I find that hi-tech fictional works are usual laughable in their portrayal and explanations of the technologies involved. Along this line,I have long felt that Michael Crichton is one of the best authors in researching his topics. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. Deaver did a great job in his own; all-in-all, his events and explanations were realistic and they reflect his opinion that the reader is not stupid, without going so far as to be a textbook on the subject. It is a very fast moving book, and there are complaints that the characters are not deeply developed. I attribute this to two things. It would take away from the quick pace of the story, and furthermore it is unnecessary. You learn enough about Wyatt and Phate without needless filler. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of spots where I crinkled my nose in disbelief, but it is a work of fiction and it is a very good one at that.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
From the moment I cracked this book, it became my downfall. I couldn't leave it, even for a few minutes, without longing for its fast-paced, utterly addictive plot. From the first paragraph to the last, this novel captured my imagination so fully that I wanted to skip meals and postpone sleep, much like the hackers portrayed in its pages.
The novel begins with the murder of a highly security conscious woman. From the first few pages, the reader knows this is no ordinary murder, although the chapters to come will reveal exactly how extraordinary the killer is. When the police suspect a skilled hacker who has taken his role-playing games into the real world, they enlist the aid of a convicted felon and "wizard" (an expert hacker) who is granted a temporary release from prison. At first glance, this is not a novel premise, but HOW the cracker accomplishes his murders elevates this story to the level of pure creepiness, reflecting the level of technology our society has acquired and our blind confidence in it. The killer's intelligence and intimate knowledge of code make him a particularly elusive and dangerous suspect.
Deaver's plot twists and turns so many times, giving false clues in the best spirit of genre and then dropping new ones, so the reader makes dozens of guesses about the outcome but probably will come up short. Although Deaver does make some clumsy moves (for example, dialogue often takes unnatural directions for the sake of exposition, and sometimes his facts are slightly off the mark) and can be repetitive, all in all his slips don't detract from this in-the-throat thriller. Yes, the characters aren't fully realized and verge on being types, but hey, you don't read this kind of book for characterizations.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dan Ronco on December 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Jeffery Deaver's first venture into a cyberthriller and he does a pretty good job. The strength of the novel is its plot: a no-holds-barred contest between two hackers. Wyatt Gillette is doing time for a few minor computer crimes when he is offered a temporary reprieve if he helps the state police track down a murderous cracker called Phate. The plot takes one turn after another, building suspense as Phate searches for new victims and Gillette tries to stop him. Why is Phate committing these murders? Who is his partner? Who's the traitor within the police? Is Gillette really a good guy? Plenty of mystery and suspense to keep you turning the pages.
Although the plot is terrific, the story has a couple of weak points. Deaver is not a computer pro and it shows. Although many of the inaccuracies are minor - only a technically sophisticated person would notice - some of them were really ridiculous (Gillette's fingertips are so strong from fingertip pushups that they crush keyboards during coding sessions).
Another problem is that Phate turns out to be a stock character - I won't give away the details, but you could probably put together a description without reading the novel. It's too bad because he starts out as an interesting, mysterious adversary. Still, the Blue Nowhere is a good thriller, well worth reading.
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Maybe it's because I've been in the computer business for 20 years that this book bothered me so much with it's inaccuracies. Since the plot of the book is based on interaction with computers, the computer terminology and capabilities are the primary basis for the action in the book.
Let me give you a few examples of inaccuracies: his referrals to "IBM clone". It must be 10 years since I've heard that term, who uses that anymore? "PC" or "Windows-Based" is the generally accepted connotation these days. Then there is the computer "wizard" who boots his computer to the "blinking C: prompt" - why does a wizard use DOS? Beats me. Okay, say he has his reasons (like when booting off a "boot disk"), in reality the C: prompt doesn't blink, the cursor does.
Not real serious (yet), how's this: the hacker who runs a DOS program called "Detective.exe" - first of all that's an invalid filename in DOS (it must be of the form 8.3 - meaning 8 letters maximum for the first part of the name) - even if it were valid, you don't have to type "Detective.exe" to start the program, "Detective" is enough. A true hacker would have called the program "d.exe" anyway, saving typing and not revealing the program's purpose by giving it an obvious title (see TRAPDOOR next). There is also the "TRAPDOOR" program (which Deaver erroneously calls a "virus"; a "trapdoor" is a way of entering a computer system and has nothing in common with a virus). This TRAPDOOR program asks questions to elicit an action from the user. This is a pretty lame program for a "wizard" to come up with. Using mouse detection one doesn't have to answer such questions - you click a button to start an action.
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