Monday, October 5, 2015
Reviewed by Craig Sisterson
When information becomes misinformation, how much of what you see should you believe? Wanted for a murder she didn’t commit and on the run from the FBI and Metro, Special Agent Ellie Conway has to protect an actor with close ties to Delta A from a serious threat as well as trying to clear her name. Unwittingly, whilst staying off the grid, Ellie stumbles upon a syndicate which has alarming connections to her daughter’s death – and which abducts her team, with the intent of killing them, and Ellie.
Upper Hutt crime scribe Cat Connor sure packs her Ellie Conway series full of high-octane action and sinister threats. Connor has put her heroine, a tech-savvy FBI Special Agent who doesn't mind also getting her hands dirty (in the active sense, not the corrupt one), through the physical and emotional wringer over the course of several books, beginning with KILLERBYTE back in 2009.
DATABYTE is another solid instalment in a very readable series that would suit fans of airport thriller excitement more than those wanting psychological thrills or deep character studies. Conway is a kick-ass heroine, a strong leader of her loyal team, passionate and driven despite her past traumas.
In this sixth book in the series, however, she's being hunted by her own, the prime suspect in the murder of her ex, Eddie Connelly. Eddie's body is missing, but his severed hand has been found, and Conway's ex-mother-in-law is baying for Ellie's blood, blaming the FBI Agent for Eddie's death. Conway goes underground, trying to find out what is really happening, while at the same time protecting the younger brother of one of her FBI team members from a celebrity stalker.
Connor's books are fun reads - the author has an exciting, visual style of storytelling, and nicely mixes some darkness, humour and character relationships into her storylines. There is very little let-up in the pacing, catnip for those that love James Patterson, Jeffrey Deaver, and the like, but if you're a reader who prefers to linger more deeply in character and setting, the books may seem 'breezy'.
If you like action-packed thrillers that thrill, with high stakes and kick-ass heroines, then I'd recommend giving DATABYTE, and Connor's entire 'Byte' series, a try.
Craig Sisterson is a former lawyer who writes features for newspapers and magazines in several countries. He has interviewed more than 100 crime writers, appeared onstage at arts and literary festivals, and is founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards.