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The Blue Nowhere: A Novel [Hardcover]

Jeffery Deaver
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 2001

The Blue Nowhere will forever change the way you feel about your computer.

Jeffery Deaver, bestselling author of The Empty Chair and The Bone Collector, now turns to the labyrinthine world of cyberspace -- a world where safety is elusive, appearances are deceiving, and the most powerful can lose their wealth, their minds, their lives with a hacker's touch of a button.

When a sadistic hacker, code-named Phate, sets his sights on Silicon Valley, his victims never know what hit them. He infiltrates their computers, invades their lives, and -- with chilling precision -- lures them to their deaths. To Phate, each murder is like a big, challenging computer hack: every time he succeeds, he must challenge himself anew -- by taking his methodology to a higher level, with bigger targets.

Desperate, the head of The California State Police Computer Crimes Division frees Wyatt Gillette, imprisoned for hacking, to aid the investigation -- against the loud protests of the rest of the division. With an obsession emblematic of hackers, Gillette fervently attempts to trace Phate's insidious computer virus back to its source. Then Phate delivers a huge blow, murdering one of the division's own -- a "wizard" who had pioneered the internet -- and the search takes on a zealous intensity. Gillette and Detective Frank Bishop, an old-school homicide cop who's accustomed to forensic sleuthing, at first make an uneasy team. But with a merciless and brilliant killer like Phate in their crosshairs, and his twisted game reaching a fever pitch, they must utilize every ounce of their disparate talents to stop him.

Hot on the trail of the New York Times bestseller The Empty Chair, The Blue Nowhere once again demonstrates that Deaver is "the master of ticking-bomb suspense" (People). It is a truly stunning tale of suspense in the computer age.

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From Amazon

In this 21st century version of the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," two computer wizards engage in the kind of high-tech combat that only a hacker could love. Wyatt Gillette, a cybergenius who's never used his phenomenal talent for evil, is sitting in a California jail doing time for a few harmless computer capers when he gets a temporary reprieve--a chance to help the Computer Crimes Unit of the state police nail a cracker (a criminally inclined hacker) called Phate who's using his ingenious program, Trapdoor, to lure innocent victims to their death by infiltrating their computers. Gillette and Phate were once the kings of cyberspace--the Blue Nowhere of the title--but Phate has gone way past the mischievous electronic pranks they once pulled and crossed over to the dark side. While Trapdoor can hack its way into any computer, it's Phate's skill at "social engineering" as well as his remarkable coding ability that makes him such a menace to society. As Wyatt explains to the policeman who springs him from prison so that he can find and stop Phate before he kills again, "It means conning somebody, pretending you're someone you're not. Hackers do it to get access to data bases and phone lines and pass codes. The more facts about somebody you can feed back to them, the more they believe you and the more they'll do what you want them to."

Bestselling author Jeffery Deaver (The Empty Chair, The Devil's Teardrop) ratchets up the suspense one line of code at a time; his terrific pacing drives the narrative to a thrilling and explosive conclusion. This thriller is bound to induce paranoia in anyone who still believes he can hide his deepest secrets from anyone with the means, motive, and modem to ferret them out. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

How do you write a truly gripping thriller about people staring into computer screens? Many have tried, none have succeeded until now. Leave it to Deaver, the most clever plotter on the planet, to do it by simply applying the same rules of suspense to onscreen action as to offscreen. Much of the action in this novel about the hunt for an outlaw hacker turned homicidal maniac does takes place in the real world, but much else plays out in cyberspace as a team of California homicide and computer crime cops chase the infamous "wizard" hacker known as Phate. The odds run against the cops. With his skills, Phate can not only change identities at will (a knack known as "social engineering" in hacking parlance) but can manipulate all computerized records about himself. The cops have a wizard of their own, however: a former online companion of Phate's, a hacker doing time for having allegedly cracked the Department of Defense's encryption program. He's Wyatt Gillette, coveting Pop-Tarts (the hacker's meal of choice) and computers, but also the wife he lost when he went to prison and it's his tortured personality that gives this novel its heart as Wyatt is sprung from prison, but only for as long as it takes to track down Phate. The mad hacker, meanwhile, no longer able to discern between the virtual and the real, has adapted a notorious online role-playing game to the world of flesh and blood, with innocent humans as his prey. As he twists suspense and tension to gigahertz levels, Deaver springs an astonishing number of surprises on the reader: Who is Phate's accomplice? What are Wyatt's real motives? Who is the traitor among the cops? His real triumph, though, is to make the hacker world come alive in all its midnight, reality-cracking intensity. This novel is, in hacker lingo, "totally moby" the most exciting, and most vivid, fiction yet about the neverland hackers call "the blue nowhere." Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A (not-so)techno-thriller April 16 2004
Jeffery Deaver actually has a pretty good plot and story buried deep down in this novel somewhere, but he spends so much time explaining the most basic of computer terms throughout the novel - and stopping mid-story to do it - that the reader loses focus. The book originally came out back in 2001, and even then most individuals did not need THAT much explanation about computers to get what was going on (was there really anyone out there in 2001 that had never heard of "the internet"?). If you know absolutely **nothing** about computers, you might enjoy this novel more but even the most basic computer knowledge turns this book into a bore at times. Readers shouldn't have to keep moaning to themselves "yes, I KNOW that, move on!"
Even with that criticism, when the story did move it was captivating. A hacker sent to prison for cracking the wrong computer system is recruited to help the police catch another hacker that is using his skills to work his way into people's lives and kill them. Great story. If Deaver had focused more on that, he'd have had a real winner here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Exciting Thriller With Twists A-Plenty Jan. 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Blue Nowhere is one of my favourite books. It is thrilling all the way through and jam-packed with so many twists and turns and surprises that it leaves you stunned. The general plot is that a computer hacker has developed a programme to read all the files on someones PC. Therefore he can find out personal information about his target and then use this to plan an ingenious way to kill them by 'social engineering'. The police, with the help of a convicted computer hacker (a.k.a A Wizard), have to hunt the bad guy, and his accomplice Shawn down.
The characters are great because they are three dimensional and believable. The hero is Wyatt Gillette, a computer hacker who ended up in jail and lost his wife because of his obsession with computers and hacking (though never for his own gain, just because he is driven to crack the hardest codes for his own satisfaction). Deaver makes us live and breath this guy's obsession, so much so that you end up feeling sorry for him although what he does with computers is, technically, a criminal offence.
Some of my favourite parts were where Deaver cut into the text with chat-room style sections where the police and Gillette tried to track down the bad guy, code name Phate. I felt that I learned so much from this novel, especially about computer jargon and terminology which Deaver, miracle of miracles, managed to make as interesting as the plot twists (I wish he was running my computer classes). I would recommend this to all lovers of thrillers. I particually loved the terrifying showdown at the end which is not dissapointing at all.
Finally, there is a little glossary in the front of the book where all the computer terms are explained. You can easily refer to this from time to time if you forget what a particular word means. In other words, don't let the fact that this is a cyber-thriller put you off because Deaver makes the technology parts fun and explains all the jargon well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific plot Dec 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is Jeffery Deaver's first venture into a cyberthriller and he does a pretty good job. The strength of the novel is its plot: a no-holds-barred contest between two hackers. Wyatt Gillette is doing time for a few minor computer crimes when he is offered a temporary reprieve if he helps the state police track down a murderous cracker called Phate. The plot takes one turn after another, building suspense as Phate searches for new victims and Gillette tries to stop him. Why is Phate committing these murders? Who is his partner? Who's the traitor within the police? Is Gillette really a good guy? Plenty of mystery and suspense to keep you turning the pages.
Although the plot is terrific, the story has a couple of weak points. Deaver is not a computer pro and it shows. Although many of the inaccuracies are minor - only a technically sophisticated person would notice - some of them were really ridiculous (Gillette's fingertips are so strong from fingertip pushups that they crush keyboards during coding sessions).
Another problem is that Phate turns out to be a stock character - I won't give away the details, but you could probably put together a description without reading the novel. It's too bad because he starts out as an interesting, mysterious adversary. Still, the Blue Nowhere is a good thriller, well worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Antoher good one from the master of thrillers Sept. 23 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I knew Jeff Deaver from his Lincoln Rhyme series, and I enjoyed very much "The bone collector" and "The coffin dancer". Deaver seems to me an author that knows what he's talking about, creating good main characters and awesome plots. When I heard about "The blue nowhere", I had no trouble racing to the nearest bookstore to buy it.
The explanation is simple. I think that, like me, Deaver is used to using the world wide web, but he knew nothing about hacking, cracking, internet, programming and such. Just to try and understand all this "technological esoteric" stuff is something to praise. It's not easy to understand this kind of things beginning from scratch, as I'm sure Deaver has done, and I respect him for that.
"The blue nowhere" is a thriller with some uncommon elements. To begin with, there's an interaction between the physical and the virtual worlds, since the vilain, a cracker named Phate, is using his computer-programming abilities to get information about the people he wants to kill, in order to win a game called Access. To get to Access' expert level, Phate search people that are virtually inviolable, knows everything there is to know about them, and, using his skills as a "Social engineer", gets them to trust him and stabs them in the heart. The book's main character, however, is Wyatt Gillette, a hacker in the latus sensus of the word, but Gillette is doing time in prison because he supposedly hacked into the main program of the US Department of Defense. Gillette is controversialy summoned to help California's Computer Crime Unit, and then begins a cat-and-mouse race against time to prevent Phate to further killings.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story!
This was a well-written and exciting story. The computer hacking and the ability to know so much personal information about anyone was truly disturbing. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jenifer Mohammed, Author of Resurrecting Cybele
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book
We'll written, with plenty of twists in the plot. This a very good book, with plenty of suspense. Mr. Deaver has excelled with this one.
Published 9 months ago by Jacques Carrier
4.0 out of 5 stars Boring? Really?
This book was far from a bore. Having been raised with computers in my life - knowing just about enough about them to get by and do no damage to them - I didn't find the... Read more
Published on June 17 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Full of tricks to keep you turning the pages, but why?
This novel keeps you turning the pages even though you know you're being "had" and that after all the build up, the ending can't be anything other than a let-down. Read more
Published on June 3 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Sold on Deaver
I am a normal person in a normal world. I grew up before computers were in every home and class room. I found the book very tense. Read more
Published on May 4 2004 by "instantkarma101"
1.0 out of 5 stars Huh?
The only way someone can read this novel is if they know almost nothing about computers.
Deaver really needed a technical editor to go over the manuscript. Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by 2wsxWSX
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative and entertaining thriller
This story is a real page turner - despite what the previous reviewers might have implied. You'll learn a lot about compu-speak, sure, and there's quite a few inside jokes that... Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Deryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...pretty fun
If you're a true hacker, it's if course got some fakey parts, but for the not-so tech savvy, this is a good read that keeps you interested till the end...
Published on Feb. 14 2004 by J. Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to do honor to the true blue nowhere.
The characters in this one make for a pretty exciting story, but I was hoping for something more based on the true Blue Nowhere. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by Chip Hunter
2.0 out of 5 stars To many improbablities
This book started out well for me but the improbable story lines keep piling on. The villain, as described, is a supergenius in the cyber world who spends much of his waking time... Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by mitch
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