By Matt Blakstad
Published by Hodder (Paperback - 26 January 2017)
Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself - where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think - online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.
If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.
But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that's not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There's just one problem: sic_girl doesn't exist. She's an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who's controlling sic_girl and why... before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.
Sockpuppet is an impressive thought-provoking debut.
This modern day whodunnit is based around a fictional social media platform called Parley (which I assumed is similar to Twitter). State secrets, and personal secrets, are being deliberately revealed by an online bot called sic_girl. It's clear that someone is on a mission to create havoc, but who and why?
Matt Blakstad has created a page-turning dark conspiracy thriller, based on acute observations of a digital society governed by online activity, political ambition and instant communication. There's plenty of computer jargon (and I have to admit it took me a while to get my head round some of it), making this a perfect thriller for computer geeks!
The plot is fast paced, ambitious and multilayered, with various complex underlying themes. But ultimately, reading Sockpuppet taught me two important things ...
1. Whatever you do online, remember that somewhere, or rather everywhere, someone is watching your every move.
2. Always check, double-check and triple-check the terms and conditions before you proceed with ANYTHING!
The recent & possibly ongoing NHS malware attack proves how relevant Sockpuppet is to modern society - this thriller is a warning to us all.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher.