Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: The Hacker By Stanley Moss: Entertaining Cyber Crime Suspense Melodrama

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Intro: The Hacker - Client. Coder. Chaos written by Stanley Moss is an interesting and entertaining suspense thriller based on cyber crime. This 228 pages book talks about a company engaged in software projects for local and overseas clients and had a good name in the market. The company Talsera is owned by 3 Indian entrepreneurs. There are projects, project managers, project management teams, management, HR and admin guys who have a role to play in this book.

Story: Story line of the book goes like this. There are software projects that Talsera is having from their clients based in the U.S. and Europe. Vikram is one of the guys of Talsera,s development and deployment team who has gone onsite to their U.S. client. Shivani is the project manager managing this team of Talsera. Vikram and Shivani have their own attitudinal problems. Shivani on one hand is arrogant and high flyer, Vikram on the other hand has some criminal bent of mind due to his perception of his life not taking right path. He is good at gambling due to his experience online and hence decides to visit Reno one night before the whole team has to return back to India. There he wins a big amount and that is where starts a new twist in his life.

The hefty amount that he won in the U.S. is brought to India. He is summoned in his office for his unwanted activities and is terminated from his services. Shivani has a big role in his termination. Vikram decides to plant a hacking game to take a revenge for what has happened to him. Vikram has lot of inside information and login credentials for such information. He plans to write absurd about Talsera and the inside negative things happening in their ongoing projects, on an anonymous blog site. He also plans to start his own company to run similar kind of operations, what Talsera does, with the money he won in gambling. Vikram decides to snatch Talsera's potential European client who is about to present them with a big value project.

It becomes difficult for Talsera management to absorb what is happening publicly on blog sites against their ongoing projects with the information that is confidential and is putting negative impact on their prospects and existing customers. The top management comes into action and finally with a sequence of interesting incidents, finally Vikram is exposed and put behind the bars for hacking and misusing Talsera's confidential inside information and trying to get advantage out of it.

The Good Factors: Story, presentation and plot are handled in a good manner by Stanley. He has a good art of writing in a style so as to keep reader's interest intact. He has kept the pace and curiosity alive right since the beginning of The Hacker - Client. Coder. Chaos.

What Could Go Better: Stanley has kept it a light read which could have been presented in a much more serious and in-depth manner. Story has diverted to a couple of unwanted events that had no relation with the main story line and even if were not there could keep the interest alive. Overall the plot is excellent but presentation has a lot of scope of improvisation.

Rating: I would give 3 out of 5.
You can read Stanley's interview here and book excerpt here

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