Attorney Will Connelly has very little to comfort him in Reece Hirsch’s scorching debut novel, The Insider. Arriving at work early on the day he’s to learn the results of the firm’s partnership vote, Will sees his coworker Ben Fisher plummet to his death past Will’s thirty-eighth floor office window. The fact Will was the only one in the office at the time of Ben’s death, and that Will’s office access card is found next to Ben’s body, make for some uncomfortable questions from the San Francisco Police Department.
Will has barely seen the police out of his office when he’s visited by the firm’s senior partner, who informs Will that he did make partner. Further, he’s being put in charge of the project Ben had been working on, a major merger involving computer software company Jupiter Software. After putting in a full day on the new assignment, Will heads out to a local bar for a muted celebration of his new partnership. There he meets a beautiful Russian named Katya and goes home with her… and this is where Will’s troubles go from simply life altering to life threatening.
In effort to impress Katya he lets slip about the big merger he’s working on. The next morning Will and Katya are confronted by two Russian thugs who force their way into Katya’s apartment, threaten Katya, and beat information about the Jupiter merger out of Will. Knowing he can’t go to the police without revealing that he’s committed malpractice by violating attorney-client privilege, as well as violated Securities and Exchange Commission regulations against insider trading, Will is on his own to extricate himself from the mess he’s gotten into.
Not exactly an easy task, as Will soon discovers that Jupiter, the world’s leading company in encryption software, has a secret relationship with the government regarding a powerful encryption key. Further, it turns out the two Russian thugs were merely mafiya wannabes who shopped the information they got from Will to a real Russian mobster, one who wants the Jupiter encryption key so he can sell it to a terrorist. Before he knows it Will has an alphabet soup of law enforcement agencies from the SFPD to the SEC to the DOJ to the DHS after him… and the Russian mafiya nipping at his heels as well.
Despite being author Reece Hirsch’s first book, The Insider does not read like a debut. Hirsch has exploded out of the gate with a mastery of pace and plotting that many authors take several books to find. Taking threads from a legal thriller, an organized crime story, and a race-against-the-clock terrorist plot, Hirsch has woven them all together in a wonderfully complex page turner. From the opening chapter death of his coworker to the closing chapter’s clever swerve, The Insider is non-stop action.
If you like thrillers, legal thrillers in particular, you’ll love The Insider. So whether you’re trying to beat the heat by barricading yourself inside with air conditioning, camping out next to the pool, or heading to the beach, take a copy of The Insider with you; the action in it may actually be hotter than the weather you’ll encounter this summer.
The Insider is available from Berkley (ISBN: 978-0425234624 ).