how to hack a mystery

Ten years ago, Suzanne Lombard went missing, despite being the daughter of U.S. Senator Benjamin Lombard. There were very few leads at the time, only a handful of teenage love lotters from a mysterious Tom B. and some internet correspondence with someone who referred to himself as Wraith. At the time of Suzanne's disappearance, Gibson Vaughn was devastated. She was practically a little sister to him as they grew up, since his father, Duke Vaughn, was the senator's chief of staff. But when she disappeared, Gibson couldn't do anything to help. He was sitting in jail at the time. 

Now it's ten years later, and Gibson is asked to help a group of independent (ahem) investigators (really, a small and independently funded staff of former law enforcement and military hotshots) finally figure out what happened to Suzanne all those years ago. Since Vaughn is recently divorced and currently out of work, he accepts their offer and sets out to use his computer skills to try to find out why, after ten years of radio silence, Wraith has come back to life and contacted the website, offering information on Suzanne's disappearance. 

In order to get to the truth, Gibson Vaughn and his team must wade through the muck of politics, survive a wily killer, hack a hacker, and put together all the pieces of a difficult and painful puzzle. They will have to be smarter, stronger, and faster to survive. But will that be enough for them to figure out where Suzanne went and where she is now? 

The Short Drop is the first in the Gibson Vaughn series, and it's got a lot going for it. Matthew FitzSimmons knows how to write a story. That being said, I did have a difficult time getting into the story for awhile. I am not someone who has to like every character in a novel, but I need someone to root for. Once I figured out that I really liked Vaughn and could believe in him, I was hooked. But there is a lot of exposition at first, and you spend a lot of time jumping from character to character (most of them not easy to connect with) before you really get to where you are excited about the story. It's like a roller coaster with a really big hill. It's a very long time to get up that first hill, but if you stick with the story, you'll find that you're in for quite a ride. 

I actually listened to the audiobook for this one, narrated by James Patrick Cronin. His reading is a little intense, but once you get to the point where you just want to keep listening, that totally works in your favor. It's a fantastic experience.