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Born in San Francisco, Carolyn McCray grew up in Napa Valley, California. A natural-born storyteller, she used to “direct” the other kids from her neighborhood in recorded readings of Nancy Drew mysteries. A lifelong animal lover whose first word was “rhinoceros,” she managed to fulfill her twin passions by growing up to become a veterinarian and a writer. She is the author of Heartsblood, Fated, and 30 Pieces of Silver.
I have yet to be disappointed in any book by this author. Ms. Caroyln McCray spins a wonderful tale. This book is sort of along the lines of her 30 pieces of Silver. Not near controversial, but that darn good!
In this book we are dealing with Zach from the FBI. Ronnie, the Robin Hood Hacker. Quirk, her trusty assistant. Pilot, a pilot. (Basically, these are the main characters) The world is looking at another Black Plague killing off almost everyone. At the hands of the Hidden Hand organization, we are seeing that true evil never does rest...just waits till the prime opportunity to strike.
What I found interesting about this topic is, it really could happen. We could have another outbreak that would kill over half of the people on this planet.
This is a great book. I was so wrapped up in the inner stories that I couldn't read fast enough. I wanted to know what was going on with Ronnie and Zach. I wanted to see them end up together and be happy. But in the end, is it really going to happen?
Well, to be honest, I do wish this book was more technically accurate. Being a little more than just computer literate I know what is possible and what is pure fantasy. Sure, I can suspend disbelief but I feel the author should at least take the time to research the various "computer hacks" and such. This way the author can make the book more believable. I don't know if this makes sense but I feel that this way, the author helps me suspend belief. I don't want to hear something like "He pulled the display laptop from the store shelf and in less than 2 minutes Chester was looking though the villain's web cam." Instead, I'd like to see "He plugged his jump drive into the store display's laptop and in 20 seconds he had Live Linux up and running. He then attacked the WiFi access point using Reaver and because it had a default WPS key, he was on the network in seconds. A total of 60 seconds and a couple of zero day exploit scripts he had prepared on the USB drive, and he was watching the villain through his own web cam." Which one sounds better? Sure, I went a bit overboard but I hope you understand.
That said, I really started enjoying the book after a few chapters. Ronnie started to grow on me. I couldn't give it 5 stars but by the 2nd half of the book I had found myself looking for more and more time to listen to the story. It was a fun read(listen). I'd have given it 3 and a half stars but because there are no half stars this book gets the benefit of rounding up. Lastly, I was a little saddened to see that the 2nd Robin Hood Hacker book, Binary, isn't on Audible. I'll have to see if I can make the time to read the print or maybe the Kindle version. (It is the end of July, 2015 and still Encrypted is the only story on Audible)
This the first Carolyn McCray book I've read and will put her as an author I will look for in the future. Took me a bit to get into this in the beginning, but got really interested. Then had to set it aside for a day or so when the hero, Zach, got kidnapped then tortured, it was the ouch part that made me step aside for a minute. However, it was like watching an enthrailing movie, had to keep going. Carolyn McCray weaves quite a tale and a spell, just when you think "they" survived that last catastrophy, they faced another, and then another. Absolutely had to finish to see how those heros got out of that whole mess. The only criticism...the author and/or her publisher really needs to hire a more competant proof reader, rather than just relying on the computer's spell check. The errors were not all that distracting from the story or the readability, however, I noticed them and was a bit amazed that there were quite a few. I would have probably been more annoyed had I bought the book in hardcover when it was first published and paid a good deal more than getting it on my Kindle. That said, was a great story and will get "Cyphered" so I can continue with Zach and Ronnie and their next nailbiting adventure.
(This is completed restructured from an earlier review)
PLOT: Page after page after page of action. The Black Death is back, courtesy of a centuries-old group called The Hidden Hand. A hacker and her partners search for symbols that can lead to a cure. In the end, it's a chase novel. Add computers to the Da Vinci Code, and it's better.
SETTING: An El Paso FBI office. Graceland. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. A castle (!) in Maine. Lots of helicopters and planes. A Centers for Disease Control lab on an isolated island.
CHARACTERS: Sympathetic but a little predictable. There's Ronnie, the beautiful hacker who dips into evil companies' computers, then distributes their money electronically to NGOs. There's Quirk, her assistant. He can break into any computer network and can create electronic gadgets that make James Bond's look like toys. And Zach, the FBI agent who's chasing Ronnie. (Even stealing from criminals is illegal.) He, of course, falls in love with her.
Plausible? No. Is this kind of book ever plausible?
But great fun.
There are two sequels, Cipher and Code, along with a prequel and two bridge short stories. I've reviewed them briefly under their names. The sequels are good, but the plots are pretty similar to Encrypted. There's also a collection of all three novels and related short work. You might down download Amazon's free preview of Encrypted (the book, not the trilogy), then buying the collection.
If you feel so inclined, tell me what you think of the structure of this review. I work best with a solid organization.)