cover image Flashmob


Christopher Farnsworth. Morrow, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-256849-6

The main elements of Farnsworth’s brilliant second thriller featuring the man known as John Smith (after 2016’s Killfile) would individually be enough to sustain interest; the combination of a telepathic lead and a terrifyingly plausible effort to use the Internet for social manipulation produces intelligent and knuckle-biting suspense. After 9/11, Smith has served his country by reading the thoughts of terrorists and planting painful sensations in their minds. He’s confronted with an even greater challenge when he becomes a private security consultant. After witnessing the attempted shooting of a reality TV personality in the middle of her wedding at a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel, Smith learns the disturbing truth behind the violence. The investigating FBI agent, Greg Vincent, shares his suspicions that the crime was caused by a website called Downvote. The site, which encourages the worst in humanity, features the “most hated people on the Internet at any given moment” and produces a de facto hit list that some of its visitors have already acted on. Farnsworth credibly ups the ante for his hero and makes accepting his paranormal abilities easy. Many will want to read this novel in one sitting. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (July)