Firewall (FBI: Houston #1) by DiAnn Mills
If you love fast-paced intrigue that involves high tech software affecting international trade, terrorist plots, FBI investigations, tight deadlines, assassins, greedy Wall Street players, software developers, betrayal, and threats to national security, you will enjoy Firewall. The pace is relentless and will definitely keep you awake.
Taryn Young is head developer for Gated Labs Technology, a software development company that is involved in handling top-secret government contracts. The project she’s been working on most recently is a program that protects the delivery system that transports liquid natural gas (LNG) for export. She designed the firewall that prevents hackers from taking control of the pipeline. Should the software get into the wrong hands, the controlled temperature could be tampered with, causing an explosion of the volatile gas, threatening lives, causing prices to rise in the market. Two buyers have already purchased the new technology, and the date of export was drawing near.
Taryn has just gotten married; she and her new husband were on their way to San Juan, a rare vacation for her. While waiting near one of the airport’s gates, an explosion ripped through the building. Taryn woke up in the hospital with a head injury hours later, her husband missing, and two FBI agents were eyeing her coldly.
Special Agent Grayson Hall was an FBI agent experienced with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and was called in because of his expertise. He was assigned to Taryn Young and her husband Francis Shepherd to explore a possible connection between her software and the bombing incident. Shepherd’s disappearance with all Taryn’s gadgets, including her iPhone which held the key to a back door to the new program called Nehemiah only implicated them further. Grayson and his partner were of the opinion that Shepherd and Young were part of the airport bombing. In just a matter of hours, Taryn has gone from newlywed to fugitive and she doesn’t know who to trust.
The deeper the book gets into the plot, the greater are the complications, twists and turns that take the reader away from earlier assumptions. Even when Taryn teams up with Agent Grayson, the earliest bits and pieces of information being accumulated by countless agents on the job didn’t make sense. The action, however, keeps us guessing and reading on.
In spite of the intense, suspenseful action, the author uses temporary lulls to give the main characters an opportunity for reflection. Such introspection fleshes out the individuals we are learning to care for in all the fracas. Throughout the many betrayals, the captures, the shocking revelations, the horror of lives lost, and loss of trust, Taryn remembers her friend Claire encouraging her to place her problems in God’s hands. What did she have to lose? She calls out to God for help and eventually through the horrendous events, Taryn learns to trust Him.
Another tactic the author used when the tension ramped up was to bring in Joe, Agent Hall’s uncle who was himself a retired FBI agent. I loved how Joe brought to the mix a break in intensity because of his personality, his wit and wisdom, and his relationship with his nephew. The two men worked with each other like a well-oiled machine. Their quips added levity at just the right moments, yet Joe was also a good agent and when the chips were down, he played an important role in solving the many questions posed by things that were baffling other agents. He even assisted in finding the mole within the Agency itself.
There’s a lot to like in this suspenseful story. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast-paced intrigue.
I am reading and reviewing this book for the Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. summer reading program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”