Just like in his massive hit, Cyberstorm, Matthew Mather does what he does best: he takes reality and adds just enough of a sci-fi touch to make it terrifying and relatable.
When I first started reading Darknet, it took a little while before I became really engrossed in the high-tech world of finance that the protagonist Jake O’Connell lived in. Just like some of the characters themselves, I found myself in over my head in the world of crypto currency, algorithms, assassin markets, and dark networks, but my patience was rewarded when the reader learns alongside those characters.
Mather makes sure the reader knows no one is safe in his world, introducing and killing off multiple characters throughout the book. In fact, I wasn’t totally sure if his protagonist Jake was really truly safe to get comfortable with until about a quarter of the way into the book.
As a stock broker in New York, Jake is familiar with the high-stakes game of Wall Street finances, but is unprepared when his world crumbles around him. His childhood friend dies in a mysterious accident in London, his boss is arrested on charges by the SEC, and he himself is framed for rape, causing his wife and daughter to leave him. All the while, Jake is trying to clear himself and ends up uncovering a massive secret that could threaten the economies of nearly every country on the planet. Along the way, he finds his own life in danger as well as those of his family and friends.
Once I really got into the story, I couldn’t put it down, reading in every spare minute until I was done. Mather is a phenomenal storyteller, weaving a thriller like the best out there. I was impressed with the immense and complex world he had created in Darknet, topped only by the characters and the situations they find themselves in around every corner.
The scary thing about Darknet is that Mather completely creates a plausible scenario for a near-future event. What if some of the technology we use and employ today evolves to the level of where it exists in Darknet? What would happen? Just like the potential of catastrophe in Cyberstorm, Mather presents a worst-case scenario of sorts in the midst of a thriller.
I loved this book and will look forward to reading it again in the future. Well done, Mr. Mather. Keep writing them like this and I’ll keep reading them. I received a free advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.