In Jack Halpin, Maxwell Black has created a character who most people of a certain age will relate to. In an ever changing, technical world, Jack finds himself adrift as his career has hit the skids and he is constantly sidelined before eventually being given a ‘token’ job in the computer division of his company. It’s whilst there that he stumbles upon evidence that a group of powerful people, including members of the government, are blackmailing senators into voting for anti-terrorism laws by planting incriminating evidence onto their computers. As a result of his discovery, Jack finds his life in danger and because there are so many influential people involved in the plot, he has to rely upon his closest of friends for help.
The novel is action packed with lots of surprises and danger looming seemingly from every direction. However, Black manages to make his story credible and relevant. In a world climate that is dominated by a fear of terrorism, it is not hard to imagine politicians manipulating this fear to their own ends. It also doesn’t seem inconceivable that computers could be hijacked to discredit people’s reputations.
Jack is an unlikely hero in that he is a middle-aged man, disappointed in his career and trapped in a loveless marriage. His relationship with his son is distant and his only real companionship comes from his old friends at the gun club, where he likes to spend his spare time. It’s these same friends to whom he turns when he needs help.
I enjoyed this novel and, if you like an intriguing plot that will keep you guessing until the end, then I recommend you give it a try.