by Patrick Oster

Verdict: THE HACKER CHRONICLES is a mystery for the modern era, with a sympathetic millennial hacker-hero and a lively story.

IR Rating



IR Rating

Vic Wachter was given an ultimatum by his mother – take the job he’s been offered by a cousin or forfeit the allowance she pays him. Reluctantly, he takes the job, but when he discovers that it involves monitoring a surveillance system that allows him to see almost anything going on in Chicago, he is intrigued by the possibilities. When a woman who looks like his ex-girlfriend is caught on camera in the company of a man who dies from poison, Vic feels compelled to prove her innocence. But is this really a damsel in distress, or a murderer? And will he prove his mettle as a cyber-detective, or will he end up in over his head – maybe even six feet under?

THE HACKER CHRONICLES is an energetic, entertaining mystery, or rather mysteries, as Vic finds his way into a career as a hacker-investigator. Though a lot of the action is conducted online, there’s enough real danger to keep the swift pace of the story going. Vic is a charming character with a wry sense of humor, and the author deftly shows him gradually finding his rhythm and his motivation as the story goes on, led first by sentiment and then by a growing fascination with what he’s doing. While he tries to seem detached and cool, it’s obvious from the first-person perspective we are given that his actions are primarily driven by a desire to prove himself, concern for his loved ones and a ruefully-half-acknowledged white-knight complex, adding to his appeal.

Vic’s friends Vassily and Michelle are delightfully unconventional, dashingly mysterious and snarkily funny at the same time.  There is perhaps a bit too much foreshadowing in the book – sometimes it’s best to let a mystery develop rather than hinting too much at what’s coming next. The story is rather episodic, with the first story getting the bulk of the novel– the three stories might work a bit better if either the latter two were developed further into separate novellas/novels or if all three were woven more thoroughly around each other, but they’re certainly quite readable as they are.

THE HACKER CHRONICLES is a mystery for the modern era, with a sympathetic millennial hacker-hero and a lively story.

~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader

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