"Pepper comes through again with this clever tale of how cyber sabotage of elections, coupled with highly concentrated ownership of traditional media operations, can undermine American democracy."--President Bill Clinton
A twisty, one-step-ahead-of-the-headlines political thriller featuring a rogue reporter who investigates election meddling of epic proportions written by the ultimate insider.
Investigative reporter Jack Sharpe is down to his last chance. Fired from his high-profile gig with a national news channel, his only lead is a phone full of messages from a grad student named Tori Justice, who swears she's observed an impossible result in a local election. Sharpe is sure she's mistaken...but what if she isn't?
Sharpe learns that the most important tool in any election is the voter file: the database that keeps track of all voters in a district, and shapes a campaign's game plan for victory. If one person were to gain control of an entire party's voter file, they could manipulate the outcome of virtually every election in America. Sharpe discovers this has happened--and that the person behind the hack is determined to turn American politics upside down.
The more he digs, the more Sharpe is forced to question the values--and viability--of the country he loves and a president he admired. And soon it becomes clear that not just his career is in jeopardy...so is his life.
Pepper's timely third novel featuring reporter Jack Sharpe (after 2018's The Wingman) finds Sharpe, recently let go from his network TV job, drawn into freelancing by the surprising results in an obscure Wisconsin judicial election, where a heavily favored incumbent inexplicably lost to a neophyte. A low-level staffer who worked for the winning candidate explains to Sharpe that someone must have hacked the incumbent's voter file, a treasure trove of semi-private and sometimes confidential information that both Democrats and Republicans keep on their registrants. Sharpe, a burned-out but nonetheless savvy journalist, logically wonders: why use such a potent political weapon to influence the result of such an inconsequential race? Sharpe has to fend off a brutal hit man as he gets on the trail of a foreign plot to take over entire segments of the U.S. economy. Never mind that the action spins into the overly dramatic toward the end. Pepper offers a well-researched, gripping look at one of the many perilous wrinkles in the electoral system.