The Last Hack

Dark cover! Bold font! Must be a thriller.

What I am mostly afraid of now, however, is my computer.

Chris Brookmyre’s latest Jack Parlabane novel, The Last Hack, is about a 19-year-old hacker named Sam Morpeth who is in way over her head. It’s not totally her fault, although she makes some bad choices and ends up getting blackmailed. She turns to disgraced reporter Jack Parlabane to help get her out of trouble, because he’s pretty OK with sketchy methods for chasing down stories or whatever else he thinks is necessary. There’s some complicated backstory that also helps bring these two ne’er-do-wells together but I’ll leave that alone because there are plenty of fans who probably already know this stuff.

Suffice to say, Brookmyre gets into some details about hacking processes. Not being a hacker, and in fact only being able to type and use some basic software on my computer, I have no idea how accurate any of these processes and tricks are, but it was still terrifying to see how easy it is to A: be tricked by a hacker and B: inadvertently do a lousy job of protecting yourself online. Guys. Just. Never. Give. Anyone. Your. Passwords.

I imagine while hacking may actually be fun, trying to write about something that is a lengthy, research-laden process filled with dramatic clicking of buttons is slightly more challenging, at least insofar as making it fun for readers. Brookmyre manages by condensing the actual hacking and focussing on the results of said hacking.

I didn’t try to guess how The Last Hack would end while reading it, which is good because I would have been wrong anyway. I think that’s the best you can hope for in a thriller.

Chris Brookmyre was at Events 15 (More than a Good Whodunit) and 36 (Live a Little) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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