Christopher Brookmyre's Jack Parlabane series. This was the first time I've read a book by this author.
Nineteen year old Sam Morpeth's mother is in jail, leaving her as the sole caregiver for her challenged sister. With that, her university plans are out the window. To look at her, you'd never know that Sam is a hacker - a really good hacker. After all - "There are no women on the Internet." But, after her group causes chaos by hacking into a prominent institution, it turns out that someone has discovered who 'Buzzkill' really is. That someone has decided to blackmail Sam - 'do as I say or I'll reveal who you are - and then where would your sister be.' What does the blackmailer want? The impossible - to steal a prototype from a seemingly impenetrable company.
Sam knows she can't pull it off on her own - so she reveals her real life persona to Parlabane who has used her hacker skills in his investigative journalism. She 'convinces' Jack that he needs to work with her......or....
Sam was a great lead character - I liked the duality of her persona - online and offline. Brookmyre has taken the time to flesh this character out and make her believable. As mentioned, this is my first introduction to Jack Parlabane. He's sketchy, driven, resourceful, talented and although he's not necessarily likeable, I really liked him as a lead.
"The phrase 'veteran reporter' has already been used, which he is not delighted about, but he is sufficiently familiar with the terms 'disgraced reporter' and 'former reporter' to make his peace with it."
The interactions between the two worked well and the underlying secondary plotline brought a personal note to the novel.
I'm not much of a 'techie', so some of what they were up to went over my head. (Although I did pick up some security tips along the way!) Brookmyre never bogs down the plot or pace with too much technical detail. That plot is fairly involved and fast moving. We are presented with many choices along the way as to who is the blackmailer and my guess changed many times. What is scary is that Brookmyre's imaginings are probably not that far removed from reality.
I have a weakness for 'heist' movies and The Last Hack is at it's heart, a quintessential heist novel. And a darn good one. I can see this one as a movie as well. Read an excerpt of The Last Hack.