St. Martin’s, Jan 2009, $23.95
Rockford, Illinois Police Detective Mary Catherine “M.C.” Riggio is ecstatic when Dr. Dan Gallo proposes; she accepts, which is a big step for her as she has humongous trust issues that has led to commitment phobia. Meanwhile her Violent Crimes Bureau partner Kitt Lundgren looks forward to traveling to Mexico with her ex-husband, hoping they can reach a reconciliation and a future together.
The partners are sent to investigate the death of Matt Martin whose neck was broken. When they arrive they find he was living in luxury well beyond his means and his computer is missing. Matt is a cracker hacker who belongs to a ring of twenty something years old that commit internet crimes. After their engagement party, Dan drives her cousin Tommy home. However when she drives up besides Dan she finds him murdered. MC is determined to work the case and Kitt wants to be there so she delays her Mexican vacation causing a schism with her former spouse. Tommy becomes the next victim, which leads everyone to belie Dan was shot was because of a mistaken identify as Tommy was always the intended victim. Everyone in the Cracker group who brag about their exploits is being eliminated one at a time; leaving anyone close to Tommy like his girlfriend and his brother in danger from a deadly executioner.
As the death toll mounts while also remaining personal, MC feels pressured to solve the case that she should have been excluded from since her fiance and her cousin are victims. Most of the Cracker group see what they do as victimless activities and therefor should not be labeled crime; they choose to ignore the consequences of their actions and how it may impact others. Readers obtain a deep look at some tunnel vision IT geniuses envision the physical and cyber worlds as Erica Spindler provides her usual exhilarating thriller.