cover image Zer0es


Chuck Wendig. Harper Voyager, $25.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-235155-5

Wendig (Blackbirds) piles on the thrills and chills in this fast-paced near-future novel about human frailty and inhuman ambition. Five American hackers grabbed by the Feds are given a choice: a jail sentence, or a job working on a secret NSA program run by the mysterious Typhon. The diverse hackers—a morally indifferent thrill seeker, an activist hacking for the Arab Spring, a teen vigilante, a multitalented smart-ass who steals in order to escape the streets, and an aging conspiracy theorist—are united only by their lack of trust in one another and the government. Their suspicions about the government’s motives increase when their individual missions, breaking into the computers of different companies, start to feel connected. Now the hackers need to figure out Typhon’s true identity and motivation, preferably before Typhon is done using them. While the major revelations are easy to see coming, Wendig wields the tools of suspense and tension with skill. His large cast of characters is entertaining, the moments of horror are sharp and chilling, and the story races to a breathless conclusion. This is a promising opening to a new series for SF thriller fans. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Aug.)