If you think cyber election fraud can’t undermine American democracy, think again.
No longer on television, Jack Sharpe (The Wingman, 2018) is still licking his wounds after being shown the door from his high-profile network gig. Turning to freelance work, the former investigative journalist catches a break when a grad student swears that she saw the unthinkable happen in a Wisconsin judicial election after a prominent, veteran politician loses to a total newcomer. Sharpe’s probing eventually leads to a staffer working for the winner explaining that it’s theoretically possible that someone obtained the incumbent’s voter file, possibly by hacking the system, giving them an edge in the election.
The voting file, Sharpe learns, is a system that tracks all eligible voters in a district—a tool used by campaigns when strategizing their candidate’s path to victory. But as the story unfolds, each answer unearths two more questions, with one major question lingering above the rest: why would someone rig such a small election, and what could it possibly mean for future elections around the country?
Pepper, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Ohio, really knows his stuff. For anyone not living under a rock the past several years, voter fraud—or even just the potential of a rigged election—has remained a hot-button issue, dominating news cycles since the last presidential election. While other books have touched on the subject (like Stephen Coonts’ The Armaggedon File, for example), none have offered the insight and deep-dive into cyber election fraud that Pepper offers here, all of which is of course wrapped around a wicked-good thriller that’ll keep readers on the edge of their seats from the first page to the last.
Informative as it is fascinating, David Pepper’s timely third novel reads fast and delivers the goods. Political junkies should run and not walk to grab The Voter File right away.
Author: David Pepper
Series: Jack Sharpe
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Real Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.