Relentlessly suspenseful and disturbingly timely, Bounty summons a chilling vision of our Internet culture gone mad, where freedom, privacy, and the rule of law are demolished by a crisis of nightmare proportions—and the future of justice lies in the hands not of the bravest but the most brutal.
When a notorious Wall Street vulture is executed in his high-rise office by a sniper’s bullet, it’s the kill shot heard around the world. Welcome to Bounty4Justice.com, a rogue website for vigilante assassins, where outraged citizens bid up bounties on corporate crooks and corrupt elites. As the number of targets soars, amateur bounty hunters and professional hit men compete to exterminate the condemned, “proof-of-death” videos become Internet sensations, and the self-styled Robin Hood pulling the strings threatens to plunge the international community into anarchy.
Along with other law enforcement agencies across the globe, the FBI and its agents on the case—led by Roman Novak and Rosemary Michaels—are desperately seeking a way to outmaneuver and overpower an all-but-invisible adversary with millions of dollars at its disposal and the ability to cripple the most sophisticated attackers with a keystroke. Following a black-hat hacker extraordinaire down a rabbit hole of firewalls, encryption, and unbreakable codes leads Novak and Michaels into the virtual underworld of the darknet—a seemingly impenetrable haven for the illicit and illegal where Bounty4Justice’s mastermind is almost certainly hiding. But just when the agents think they are close to breaching their quarry’s digital fortress, they find themselves stalked by an army of cyber outlaws out for blood.
Advance praise for Bounty
“[Michael] Byrnes fuses science fiction and espionage in this smart, near-futuristic dystopic thriller. . . . The action-packed story line is full of plot twists and explores such topical matters as cyberterrorism and hacktivism. Byrnes raises some serious questions about humankind’s increasing dependence on—and assimilation with—the digital world.”—Publishers Weekly
“Vigilantism goes viral in this thriller about a website that pays bounties for the killing of unpunished child abusers, financial scammers, human rights violators, and other bad actors. . . . Charles Bronson’s Death Wish meets the Internet.”—Kirkus Reviews
“This is a grand-scale spin on the vigilante story. . . . Byrnes’s vigilante offers a twist on the theme: he’s mastered cyberspace to the point where he can outsource some of his to-do list, offering a cash reward on his website to anyone who will kill the crooked banker . . . and the weasel who bilked Medicare for $127 million. And he’s just getting started.”—Booklist
Byrnes (The Genesis Plague) fuses science fiction and espionage in this smart, near-future dystopic thriller. When a website begins putting lucrative bounties on the heads of global criminals who have evaded justice including Wall Street power brokers, politicians, and unethical businesspeople a group of elite U.S. government operatives, led by FBI special agent Roman Novak, seeks to shut down the site. But its creators remain elusive as the body count rises and many people start to embrace the site's simple credo ("If the law should fail, let justice prevail"). Novak and the government's most talented cryptanalysts struggle to find a way to access and bring down the site before it irrevocably changes the world. The overall character development is superficial, but the action-packed story line is full of plot twists and explores such topical matters as cyberterrorism and hacktivism. Byrnes raises some serious questions about humankind's increasing dependence on and assimilation with the digital world.