Wednesday, December 17, 2014

End of Secrets by Ryan Quinn Added to Personal Favorites for 2014!

"Good morning, Kera. I'm Gabrielle di Palma."
"I know who you are, ma'am. It's an honor."
Kera had not seen the Directorate of Intelligence's deputy director this close before in person. Di Palma had collar-length blond-white hair that shot back from her forehead. Shallow tributaries of wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and mouth were visible in the low light coming through the tinted windows...
"Lionel tells me you've come up under him in CSAA," di Palma said, referring to the agency's Office of Collection Strategies and Analysis. Kera nodded and glanced quickly at Lionel...
I'm going to offer you a job, Kera. But before I do, I need you to agree to keep this conversation between us. Please sign and fingerprint this NDA after you've read it carefully."
Kera moved her eyes over every word of the agreement, but she was too distrated to absorb more than a quarter of them. Using a finger, she scrawled her signature on the touch screen and then pressed the flat tip of it to the print scanner at the bottom of the display.
"Thank you," di Palma said as she tucked away the tablet. As you know the new frontier in our field is all-source data mining. The problem we've run into at the agency is not our technology. We've got that, we're ahead of the curve, even. As a result, though, we're absolutely buried under mountains of signals intelligence data that is piling up in servers much faster than we can make any sense of it. It will take a decade to address these problems institutionally. And that makes us vulnerable. Ver much not ahead of the curve... I'll be direct. I've been clered to field an elite team for a black op, code named Hawk
to operate a more flexible and efficient cyberintelligence platform. I want you on that team...
"Hold on. I haven't given you the most difficult think you need to consider before making your decision. The mission of Hawk is to master information. to gather it at its source, to analyze it. and to act upon it at the precise time it is needed. The scope of this work may extend into areas many of our citizens and lawmakers would consider unacceptable. As a result, most of our missions will require us to operate completely off the books. That means we have to get all of the personnel for Hawk out of the agency. The team will be structured like a private contractor.
"Is that merely a technicality, or are you asking me to leave the agency?" Kera looked again to Lionel. There was no way he approved of this. She's only ever heard him curse agency people who defected to the private sector. His eyes urged her to keep listening. "Both. It's a technicality, but it has real consequences. If you're not comfortable with you, you're welcome to walk away...
~~~

End of Secrets
By Ryan Quinn

Let me be among the first to say this book should be turned into a movie! At this time, my top favorite television program is Person of Interest--there is much to correlate to that program within this book. The length and complexity, however, would have to go big screen to really make the impact that the book does! If you love books on the use and future use of computers, this is a must-read for you in my opinion.

Kera Mersal is at present a CIA agent. When she is approached for a new job that would take her out from under the government, she hesitates and looks to her boss and mentor who merely explains he needs her in the new organization. Although the book finished on a high, I'm also hoping that there will be at least one sequel. You'll understand why when you read it...

The words caught her eye by chance. Technically, this violated the spirit of the exercise, which called
for deliberate observations. Nevertheless, there they were--six words where she had never noticed them before. She'd just disembarked from the downtown N train, and the bottleneck in the stairway drew her
gaze upward over the hats and hair and bald heads toward the freedom of the sidewalk. The words
were made of small letters--the entire phrase sretched at most four feet--painted on the underside of a scaffold landing that shielded pedestrians from the persistent construction along Houston Street.
She cleared the bottleneck and climbed the stairs with her face tilted up, studying the phrase. The vandal's penmanship was plain, unlike the stylized tags graffiti artists threw up on walls and train cars and mailboxes across the city...

I can remember when I first started to work that everything typewriters and computers were IBM. Until the government declared that it had become a monopoly... Now, at this time, that seems to be the rule rather than the exception for large corporations....especially...

One... which was in the midst of acquiring any and every company that pertained to entertainment... 

Since everything was secret in the new Hawk company, Kera was identified as a journalist of Global Reports, which was essentially the front for the company. Thing was that Kera never wrote anything. She was put on the computer continuously looking for any type of intelligence from foreign sources...

Her immediate supervisor was the creator of Hawk! At first he was not willing to be bothered with her, but soon saw her value and came to depend on her...and more...at least on his part...

But one day a man contacted her about One--purely because he had read her article! First she had to pull it out and see what was said, then she contacted Gabrielle who was now called Gabby and told to go ahead and meet with Travis Bradley. She learned more about the fact that many high-level professionals in banking were moving to One. Then almost daily a different organization was bought up and merged under One.

Before she got more involved with what Bradley shared, they learned that a famous singer had disappeared! Then another, then an artist...

There are some really interesting subplots in the novel that complements the story, but also serve to tease readers as they try to figure out what is important in solving the multiple mysteries...

For instance, Kera is married to a man that seems to be questionable for her mate.  Indeed, her boss spotted him overseas with a woman and was angry on behalf of Kera. More significant is that Parker cannot get over the guilt and realized how much he loved Kera so actually appears to begin smothering her with questions about setting the date of the wedding, etc...

Then there is "It." He's an artist who is more than a graffiti artist since he makes large but very well done themed pieces and literally has pedestrians and traffic jammed up when he somehow places them without anybody seeing it! Nobody knows who the artist is, and the police just take the meaningful piece away...as junk!

Then there is Gnos.is. A private streaming of anything and everything without any type of charge to users...

The obsession over Gnos.is in the intelligence community took the form of panic. Many analysts concluded that the site was a front for a foreign, state-sponsored intelligence gathering program. Gnos.is didn't exist to make a profit, so their intentions must be hostile. Or so the argument went. Some of that paranoia found its way to Hawk, and Kera had briefly been assigned to a Gnos.is taskforce. Like everyone else, though, the Hawk hackers failed to locate the site's owners or to decode the algorithms that made Gnos.is work. But they also failed to come up with any evidence that Gnos.is was sponsored by a foreign state or that it was collecting the data of usersd and storing it for illegal or otherwise suspicious purposes...To Kera's knowledge, it remained the only case that Hawk had failed to deliver on...

But as more and more famous people disappeared, she and Jones were put on finding them... Kera immediately asked about the legal issue of investigating citizens, but that was pushed aside...Soon she was so involved and intrigued by what was happening, that she started taking to the street to investigate. A definite violation of protocol! I thought this was especially revealing as it showed that no matter how powerful were the computers, it still took intuition, gut-feelings, eyes-on work to begin to then use the computers to its full advantage!


That was five years earlier. Now Jalen West, the thin Detroit boy whose pop music career began at his best friend's funeral, was on top of the world...

Until he, too, had disappeared.
All entertainers signed by One...

And then she started meeting some of the people, who later disappeared...

And she and Jones were both under surveillance!

Given the age difference between the author and myself, I was thrilled to see that our cultural concerns were so in tune. I watched the finals of The Voice
last night. The philosophy of the Chair is so significant in choosing individuals purely based upon talent... But, then, as the process changes to a competition of popularity, I lose interest. Each of those individuals have been picked, but later the winner is chosen on much more than talent, one of which is whether the individual can go on to become a star that makes bunches of money. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be living in a world where all artists could be enjoyed, without putting a price tag on their ability to also make money?!


This book is Fabulous! Edgy! Remarkably in tune with today's America! It's Today's News! Don't miss it!


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About the Author
A native of Alaska, Ryan Quinn was an NCAA champion and an all-American skier while at the University of Utah. He worked for five years in New York’s book-publishing industry before moving to Los Angeles, where he writes and trains for marathons. Quinn’s first novel, The Fall, was a finalist in the 2013 International Book Awards. For more, please visit www.ryanquinnbooks.com.