Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

The Last Hack

A Jack Parlabane Thriller

by Christopher Brookmyre

From a top international crime writer, an unstoppable thriller about an old-school journalist facing down obsolescence, a desperate teenager, and a heist that will take this unlikely pair to the most treacherous corners of the Internet.

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date July 04, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2694-8
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $25.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date July 04, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-8907-3
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

There are no women on the Internet.

It is one of the cardinal rules of hacking, and not since Lisbeth Salander famously violated it in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series has the maxim been so compellingly broken as in The Last Hack, the new Jack Parlabane thriller from one of the smartest minds in crime fiction, Christopher Brookmyre.

Sam Morpeth has had to grow up way too fast. Left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison, she is forced to watch her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online. Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane seems to have finally gotten his career back on track with a job at a flashy online news start-up, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything. Thrown together by a common enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realize–and might be each other’s only hope.

Praise for The Last Hack

“One of the most ingenious thrillers I’ve read in a long time . . . The Last Hack is composed of two story lines that are as elaborately knotted together as the Ethernet and printer cables on my office power strip . . . Think a techie version of ‘True Grit.’ Brookmyre is a pro at slowly injecting ever more anxiety into scenes where the suspense sweat-o-meter is already hovering in the red zone . . The one thing critical to a good suspense novel is, well, suspense. But an extraordinary suspense novel has that extra something—a haunting setting, wit or, in the case of The Last Hack, the presence of an idiosyncratic, morally complex heroine. The immortal Lisbeth Salander, that other ‘girl on the Internet,’ is brilliant, but deliberately difficult to cozy up to; Sam Morpeth is much more human and vulnerable. By the end of this novel, she’s not only hacked her way into high security sites like Synergis but into but a reader’s affections, too.”—Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post

The Last Hack is vintage Brookmyre—equal parts adrenaline and empathy, a plot that opens out like a Japanese flower dropped in hot water, and characters so real you want to reach through the page and save them.”—Diana Gabaldon

“A highly entertaining writer—his books have won awards for their comic as well as their crime-fiction elements—Brookmyre is tenacious when it comes to exploring the most cynical aspects of his characters while peppering his writing with amusing and spot-on details. Whether he’s describing a party venue where the hors d’oeuvres are ‘so on-trend that the leftovers are likely to be binned in a few hours for being out of fashion rather than for any of the ingredients being past their use-by dates’ or throwing around a wry joke about British ‘Apprentice’ boss Alan Sugar, Brookmyre clearly relishes wordplay and one-liners as much as he enjoys crafting a finely-tuned thriller.”—Daneet Steffens, Boston Globe 

 

The Last Hack is a dialogue-fueled, action-packed thrill ride of a tale. This book has it all—including two great leads—Jack Parlabane, a down-on-his-luck reporter, dogged in pursuit of a good story, but haunted by a deadly debt which could cost him more than a career, and Sam Morpeth, a young lady weighed down with family burdens and responsibilities who finds herself in the center of a web of deadly deceit. Each on their own are compelling characters strong enough to fuel any story. Team them together and the result is pure literary dynamite. If you have not read Christopher Brookmyre before (and I confess I had not) THE LAST HACK will make you a fan for life—you’ll want to read the other novels in the Parlabane series and anything else he puts in print. He’s a cocktail of Ian Rankin blended with a dash of Robert Crais and a splash of Michael Connelly. The guy is seriously that good. The Last Hack is a must-read for anyone who loves not just thrillers but a good story well told. The plot is Kentucky Derby fast; the dialogue is tough, gritty, funny, raw; and the characters all come off the page as Elmore Leonard real. Get the book, open a bottle of whatever you’re drinking, sit back and enjoy the thrill ride of the summer.”—Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and The Wolf

“A timely, riveting ride into the cyber crime underworld . . . by the very talented Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre . . . The Last Hack pulls back the curtain on a faceless band of marginalized young geeks . . . Brookmyre’s easy, long-distance stroke sweeps the reader into this invisible world of digital mayhem, and your eyes will dry out following along. For heavy lifting, he brings in his signature investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, who cajoles his way into blind al- leys and near misses. He’s a terrific character . . . A goofy, wonderful, well-written story.”—Jeffery Mannix, Durango Telegraph

The Last Hack by Christopher Brookmyre is the most compelling thriller I’ve read all year. I could not put it down once I started, and now that I’m done, I find myself oddly afraid of my laptop.”—John Gilstrap, author of Final Target and the Jonathan Grave thriller series

The Last Hack is terrific. Hackers are almost old news but Brookmyre puts a fresh twist on it, focusing on his great characters. He puts them in the deepest, most perilous, inescapable situations possible and somehow manages to get them out in surprising and completely convincing ways. Tech fans needn’t worry. There are enough digital machinations to satisfy the faculty at MIT.”—Joe Ide, author of IQ

“As soon as I finished The Last Hack, I immediately changed all my passwords, and I’ll never look at a USB drive the same way again. It’s at once terrifying and tremendous fun, with superb characterization, gripping moral complexity, and no shortage of clever villainy.”—Chris Pavone, New York Times bestselling author of The Expats

“A sharp and funny Scottish writer.”—Carl Hiaasen

Christopher Brookmyre’s crime fiction has gone from strength to strength in recent years, seeing him flexing his narrative muscles with different protagonists. But The Last Hack revisits the always engaging Jack Parlabane whose knack for finding trouble is unrivalled.”—Val McDermid, Observer (UK), “best holiday reads 2017”

The Last Hack is a revelation. I loved the two central characters and the plot reminded me why the computer is the scariest tool since the invention of the buzzsaw.”—Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of The Old Man

“Being as technologically challenged as I am, at first I wasn’t sure that I would like a book about computer hacking. But it only took a couple of chapters before I was completely intrigued . .  . Brookmyre is a master of creating tension both on and offline . . . What makes this story great is its two main characters; both flawed, yet trying to do the right thing . . . I was up all night reading this book, and while I was satisfied with the conclusion, I would be even more pleased to see Buzzkill in action again in her own series, or at least appearing in another Jack Parlabane thriller.”—Vanessa Orr, Mystery Scene

“A compelling thriller . . . and Sam is a delightfully complex and engaging character.”—Booklist

“Sam’s hacking ploys are cool in the extreme. An enjoyable departure from its predecessors, Brookmyre’s eighth Jack Parlabane novel works exceptionally well as cybercrime fiction, but it’s the human element that makes it tick.”—Kirkus Reviews  

“The always reliable Chris Brookmyre has scaled new heights of invention and invective in his last two novels featuring the dissolute journalist-cum-detective Jack Parlabane, so I will be saving his latest, The Last Hack, for a holiday treat.”—James O’Brien, Times Literary Supplement (UK)

“One of the defining characteristics of Chris Brookmyre’s Jack Parlabane novels is the development of his protagonist. While other crime luminaries rest comfortably in stasis, Parlabane, like a great white shark, keeps moving. This makes him one of the more fascinating characters in crime fiction, stumbling into one bad situation after another, but finding a way through thanks to his own particular sense of morality . . . Brookmyre’s plot is full of surprising twists and turns that make it pleasingly difficult to guess the ending, while Parlabane’s evolution forms the emotional heart of the novel. It is an engrossing read, combining appealing characters with a contemporary scenario drawn from the murkier corners of modern life.”—Herald Scotland

Excerpt

Hacking works by increments: once you’re inside, even at the ground floor, you can usually score something that will help you access the next level; and sometimes you really luck out. In this case it was the discovery that the Customer Communications department had a policy of hot-desking, so staff were logging in from different computers. This meant that each computer stored a list of passwords for all of the user accounts that had logged into that particular machine. They were encrypted, but nonetheless, it represented an express elevator to the penthouse. Buzzkill just needed the right executive credentials to make it move.

That’s what the internet relay chatroom request for hashes was all about, and why the guys were joyfully giving out grief about it. It takes a varied pool of talents to make something like this happen, and though everybody loves to showcase their skillz, they also love the power it gives them when they can dangle their refusal over a friend in need.

You don’t merely have to ask politely, you have to ask canny. Don’t sound like you want it too much.

Don’t sound like you’re on a crusade.

That’s why Stonefish said NYPA. It stands for Not Your Personal Army. He was joking, though. He knew Buzzkill wasn’t on a crusade, same as they both knew nobody was going to miss out on being part of this big a win. This would see Uninvited getting headlines right around the globe. Jesus, even Lulzsec and Anonymous never hit a bank.