The Kill Order (Sydney Fitzpatrick #5) by Robin Burcell (HarperCollins mass market, 31 December 2013).
Reviewed by Marlyn Beebe.
The Devil's Key is a list of numbers. An apparently random list of numbers that is actually a computer code that, if found and used, poses a threat to the political and financial security of the U.S., and perhaps even that of the entire world.
Bo Brewer, a young computer technician who buys and resells used copy machines comes across a group that had been used in a government office, and unintentionally disposed of without clearing all the hard drives. Out of sheer curiosity he copies them, and discovers that one has a page with nothing but a list of seemingly random numbers. As a computer geek, he assumes it's some sort of code, and becomes obsessed with deciphering it.
He shows it to his friend Piper, who happens to have an eidetic memory. While she's in the apartment above his shop, two men come in and kill him. Meanwhile, Piper is spirited away by someone who turns out to be FBI agent Zachary Griffin, who is in the early stages of a relationship with Sydney Fitzpatrick.
Sydney had worked in the office the copiers had come from, and might have a copy of the Key.
The situation is made even more complicated by the fact that Sydney's father had been involved in the theft of The Devil's Key twenty years earlier, and had been killed as a result. One of the investigating officers in the case had been Zach Griffin, who may or may not have fired the lethal bullet.
This complex, fast-paced thriller captures the reader and is very difficult to put down. Unlike many tales of this sort, the characters are well-developed and have actual Relationships, Personalities and Baggage. Lots of baggage.
It helps to have read the earlier books in the series, but it's not a necessity. If you haven't read the first four Sydney Fitzpatrick novels, I can almost guarantee you will find them after you finish this one. And you won't regret it.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for providing an e-galley for me to read and review.