Exit Strategy by Michael Wiecek is easily one of the most engaging, intelligent thrillers I’ve read in quite some time. The book gets off to a roaring start with a brash daylight assault on an internet company called Blindside that leaves eight people dead and the office destroyed. The killers, dressed as postal workers, unfortunately make the mistake of leaving two witnesses: Molly Gannon, a real postal worker (and former Military Police officer) who was in the building on her delivery route, and Blindside employee Jeb Picot, who was in the building, but out of the office, at the time of the assault.
Given that the killers were dressed as postal workers the police suspect Molly of having been in on the attack, and Jeb’s convenient absence from the office at the crucial moment raises the authorities’ suspicions about his possible involvement as well. Their suspicions are fueled by misinformation and half-truths strategically leaked to them by Dunshire Capitol, a front company for the National Security Agency.
Blindside, it turns out, specialized in cryptography and had made a monumental breakthrough in technology, which Dunshire desperately wants, that is able to crack supposedly uncrackable codes. Further complicating the mix is that Blindside was funded by an organization with ties to a Chinese triad, and now they and Dunshire both want to get their hands on Molly and Jeb, whom they believe have a laptop which contains crucial information.
So many players and competing interests in one storyline could be unwieldy in the hands of some authors, but Wiecek does a masterful job weaving everyone into the flow of the story without slowing things down when switching perspectives or making caricatures out of any faction. All the characters, good guys and bad guys alike, are intelligent and driven by clear, logical motivations. Wiecek also deftly intersperses plenty of cool tech speak throughout the story; if you know computers and coding you’ll love it, and if you don’t you’ll love learning about it.
Since it’s not a new release Exit Strategy may not be readily available in brick & mortar bookstores, but it’s well worth your time to track a copy down or order one online. Just don’t start unless you have time to finish, because you won’t be able to put it down.