Reece Hirsch, Surveillance


This is a well-paced techno-adventure novel that I quite enjoyed reading. The main character is a lawyer, Chris Bruen, with a newly opened office in the San Francisco area. He specializes in cybercrime. A potential client knocks on his door; he has stumbled on an ultra-secret government agency that has a mandate that goes beyond that of the NSA and as a result, he fears for his life. This agency uses all means of surveillance technologically available, even beyond what is permitted by law even in extraordinary circumstances. This is not in Bruen’s usual field, but he does report this to the authorities, somewhat informally. He is immediately targeted and members of his staff are killed.

He, his associate and the potential client go on the run, and much of the rest of the book is about the challenges they encounter while fleeing. They end up being mixed up with the cyber theft of a large sum of money belonging to a South American drug lord. While that may be even more dangerous that than discovering a rogue government agency, they survive.

In the end, they are back in the office but are by no means free of surveillance.

While this is an effective thriller, it is less fantastic than the movie Minority Report with Tom Cruise. It is also lacking the edginess of Thomas Pynchon and William Gibson, and the political undertones of Cory Doctorow.

This book came out in March. Thanks to Net Galley and the editor for access to a review copy.


Hirsch, Reece. Surveillance. Thomas and Mercer, 2016.


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