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June 12, 2020

George Ernsberger - Columnist
Posted 6/12/20

THE KILL CHAIN by Christian Brose (Hachette). A sophisticated but intelligible introduction to cyberwarfare, for nongeeks and not only for professionals, by any means—but let's hope some in our …

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June 12, 2020

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THE KILL CHAIN by Christian Brose (Hachette). A sophisticated but intelligible introduction to cyberwarfare, for nongeeks and not only for professionals, by any means—but let's hope some in our Defense Department read it. It's by a former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain, who knew what's important to know about warfare. Even pure amateurs can already grasp pretty firmly, just from every sort of news source, that the U.S. has been for a good while now under attack and, to the considerable extent that that's already warlike, it's a war that we aren't winning. Filthy fingerprints have long been detected on electronic communications related to elections, and not only on mass media, on “social media,” which are even more mass than mass media. This book is fairly argued, alarming without being alarmist—and is, in all honesty, surely at least partly meant for the eyes of whoever's left at what is, just now, a hollowed-out Defense Department.

RIVIERA GOLD by Laurie R. King (Bantam). By now a series of historical mysteries. They began as Sherlock Holmes pastiches, and still are, but far from only—also full-value mysteries, as intricately plotted as mysteries need to be. They have all along starred his wife Mary Russell, with Sherlock, now retired, in a supporting role (and in this one, altogether elsewhere); both are aging along with the century. And they feature, in their various European settings, real historical figures. This time, it's the South of France in the ‘20s, and the supporting cast includes names we know: Gerald and Sara, Zelda and Scott, all coolly recreated… Oh, and did I mention Mrs. Hudson, whom we came to know a hidden side of, recently, and then thought we'd lost?

BOMBSHELL: A TEDDY FAY NOVEL by Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall (Putnam). Just the fifth of this shrewd, tough, enjoyable series, an offshoot of his Stone Barrington books (and Barrington's featured in this one, not for the first time). Teddy's a Hollywood guy and this is an L.A. novel—yet more territory that Stuart Woods seems to know intimately. These books seem to me even more Stuart-Woodsish than the ones with only his name on them. Parnell Hall is evidently a (rather rollicking) soulmate.

DON'T MAKE A SOUND by T. R. Ragan (Thomas & Mercer). A promising crime series launch, tough, indeed harsh, by and centrally about women. It might have been created with an eye to 1950s private eye characters and novels, but it's more grown-up than that. Not just more woke, it's honestly smarter and deeper (though, to be fair, Mike Hammer was kinda soulful in his way). It's a lot more culturally aware than those were, but just as tough, because its central character is.

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