cover image The Last Hack

The Last Hack

Christopher Brookmyre. Atlantic Monthly, $25 (432p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2694-8

In Brookmyre’s overly technical eighth Jack Parlabane thriller (after 2016’s Black Widow), the Scottish journalist is lucky to land an interview with the online magazine Broadwave, whose editors are eager to milk his connections to an infamous hacker known as Buzzkill. Bucking hacking stereotypes, Buzzkill is a 19-year-old black Londoner named Samantha Morpeth who’s juggling caring for her younger sister with Down syndrome—while their mother is in prison—and attending college. All that changes when she’s blackmailed, following a group hack of a major bank, by a figure identified only as Zodiac, who instructs her to steal a flashy new product from a big-name tech company or else be exposed for her role as one of the Uninvited (think Anonymous). Sam turns to Jack for help, though their connection is frustratingly tenuous for too much of the narrative. Brookmyre excels when he focuses on human relationships, but too often he gets bogged down in the minutiae of carrying out a hack. Agent: Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (July)