Friday, August 25, 2023

#Review - Zero Day Ghost by Scott Olson #Thriller #Suspense

Series: Standalone
Format: Kindle, 314 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2023
Publisher: The Book Whisperer
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Thriller / Suspense

Emily Hernandez, a reformed hacker turned NSA analyst, is on a relentless mission. As a once rogue hacker, she's now determined to dismantle The Collective, a ruthless cybercriminal syndicate led by the cunning Zahra Kartal. Their deadliest creation, "APRIL," an AI botnet, lurks in the shadows of compromised computers.

Caught between her duty to destroy The Collective and her personal connections within the enemy's ranks, Emily faces heart-wrenching decisions. Tragedy strikes, igniting a fiery fury within her soul.

In an adrenaline-fueled quest through Hong Kong's neon-lit battleground, Emily battles ruthless adversaries and relentless authorities.

Scott Olson's Zero Day Ghost is a techno-thriller that plunges into emotions of revenge, redemption, and life-and-death choices. Will Emily Hernandez triumph and weave her destiny from vengeance and forgiveness, or will she be ensnared in haunting shadows forever? Emily, who was one of the members of a group known as "The Collective," was previously arrested for computer fraud and abuse and convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She served only a few months before the NSA came knocking and Emily tried to find her own form of redemption.

Emily is  now determined to dismantle The Collective, a ruthless cyber-criminal syndicate led by the cunning Zahra Kartal. Their deadliest creation, "APRIL," an AI botnet, one that Emily has intimate knowledge of since she helped create it, lurks in the shadows of compromised computers. But before she can find a way to track down Zahra, tragedy strikes. Her mother, Audrey Ng, a terrorist who married yet another terrorist, Sebastian Hernandez, ends up dead when a late model volkswagon kills her mother. To top it off, her co-worker Ben has disappeared.

After trying to investigate who may have been responsible, Emily learns that all video footage of the incident has been erased. This brings her to the doorstep of Seymour Frey, who is yet another terrorist who idolizes Antifa like many rich white kids who didn't get enough love from their parents. In all reality, this book is filled with criminals not only in the US, but in Hong Kong where Emily flees to keep out of the hands of the authorities, especially the FBI, and her boss Director Leonard Chip.  

Caught between her duty to eradicate The Collective and the haunting presence of her own flesh and blood within the enemy's ranks, her cousin Kaylin, Emily grapples with heart-wrenching decisions. She also finds herself on the run from the people who she thought had her back, as well as the Chinese Communist State who would love to put Emily in a box for life. Who is really the good guys and who are the real bad guys? But the deeper she digs, the more she uncovers in the corrupt world of organized crime and secret agencies who don't give a damn who they hurt as long as they complete their mission.

*Final ThoughtsYou know what I hate? Open ended endings where you don't really know if this is a standalone, or part of a series. Emily tries to be a white hat hacker working for the NSA, but when push comes to shove, her friends and her family are either terrorists or criminals. Yet, I am not supporting the NSA. I haven't been a fan since I learned they were literally spying on all of us without a warrant. I am not a fan of authors who think Antifa is anything but a group of terrorists who have beaten up journalists, burned down hundreds of businesses from coast to coast, and in Europe. Stop making these people out to be heroes fighting fascism!


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