As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Penguin Books, 4 June 2015. ISBN: 978 -0-241-97276-2
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an
extraordinary book. Whilst it is a techno-thriller about data mining that conveys
an understated, but pervading, menace, for me, it was not the plot - important
and topical though protection of privacy undoubtedly is - that put Whiskey
Tango Foxtrot into a class of its own. Rather, it was the compellingly
crafted portraits of three thirty–something, vulnerable Americans, combined
with the darkly comic, insightful and sharp comments about the ordinary and
irritating obstacles they meet that I really enjoyed.
The first of the three youngsters we meet is Leila. Whilst working for a
charity in Burma she stumbles across a heavily guarded installation in the
jungle. Her curiosity about its role gets her expelled from Burma. It
also results in untrue allegations designed to ruin her father being
deliberately orchestrated in the USA.
To clear her father’s name Leila joins a group of activists
determined to combat a powerful cabal that records all information transmitted
electronically about us. The cabal is also using a biometric sampling and
surveillance device to record our behavioral and physiological characteristics.
Their ultimate aims are presumably to blackmail and control, or to annihilate
whatever proportion of the population fails to meet their exacting
On her way home to the USA Leila meets Mark, a drug and drink imbibing
soul from an under-privileged background who has been corrupted by the
trappings of fame and wealth. But, as one of the cabal’s leaders has
taken a shine to a ridiculous and incomprehensible self-help book Mark has
written, Mark is, unwittingly, in a strong position to neutralize the cabal.
Leo is the third, and to my mind the most endearing, of the three young
Americans. Riddled with guilt and clinically depressed, Leo seems to possess a
sixth sense about the cabal’s spying techniques. When Leo posts his
thoughts on line, the activists send Leila to see if he might be willing to
help them by bringing pressure to bear on Mark.
Coincidentally, Mark, who had been at College with Leo, decides to
contact Leo. Leo and Leila appeal to Mark’s better nature, and he agrees
to help them inactivate the cabal’s systems. Does he succeed?
This is a brilliant debut novel. I will be watching for his next
Reviewer Angela Crowther
David Shafer was born in New York City,
USA. He is a graduate of Harvard and the
Columbia Journalism School. He has lived in Argentina and Dublin, and worked as
a journalist, a carpenter and a taxi driver. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with
his wife and children. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is his first book.
Angela Crowtheris a retired
scientist. She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime
fiction. In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group,
goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi