This is an FBI Criminal Behavioural Analysis story with a (feisty) female investigator. She has a colleague who is crooked and lazy and basically misogynistic and woman hating.
In this story we hear about a prostitute who has a clever idea – she films her clients and stores the videos on the Dark Internet, thus making them extremely difficult to find by anyone other than herself, but useful material against the time she might need them for blackmail or additional income...
I wrote and explored the Dark Internet in a previous post – about Tuesday Falling - but just a quick recap here: the Dark Web is a series of web sites that are publically visibly but that hide the IP addresses of the servers behind them. They are thus effectively anonymous and difficult to police.
The Dark Web can be useful for legitimate uses such as when you live in a country that has banned external contact, you can do this through the Dark Web, but mainly it is used for illegal activities.
There is also the Deep Web: this includes the Dark Web but also all user databases, webmail pages, registration required web forums, and the pages behind paywalls. This means that every page visible on the internet has maybe millions of Deep Web pages behind it which can be accessed.
The Dark Internet is further networks, databases or websites that cannot be reached over the (normal and visible) internet and are proprietary, niche, or very private.
So, for the computer (very literate) there are many places where you can hide the items you don’t want anyone else to know about...
The agent - uses a Keurig coffee machine. Now this is a make I was not familiar with, and being a coffee fanatic, and as it was rated highly in this book, I thought I should find out more about this. It seems that it is just another form of Nespresso – a pod machine. I use a Nespresso at home and can recommend it for those not up to the ‘real’ machine which my husband uses. He tamps and presses and..produces coffee with the best crema ever.
Note to all users of coffee machines. Use Volvic water. I know I sound like I am an advert here, but the more neutral your water is, the better coffee you will get. It really does make a difference to the taste whichever machine you use. The perfect cup of coffee should be made with water high in magnesium and low in bicarbonate and low in sodium. It’s all in the chemistry.. and you can read pages and pages about the chemical compositions that make the difference to get the most precise ‘best’ taste. However, I confess, what I like in coffee taste, may not be what you like. After all, people still drink Starbuck’s standard coffee!
Of course in this novel the characters also mention that they don’t like the homogeneity of big chains, and are part of the movement ‘Coffee shops against Starbucks’ [insert photo of eclectic] and look forward to coffee shops with built in shelves where books are ‘set wild’ and there is an eclectic layout and furnishings. And I am with them on this and thus have collected a few photos of my favourite coffee shops to demonstrate, but will only show a very few of these here.
I also was very interested in that the story considers, in an oblique, way, the issues after rape – especially that of child abuse rape. Here we see that the characters change – their emotions are affected, their behaviour becomes different, some turn violent and act out their rage, others remain child-like in their behavior and yet others decide to exploit others sometimes through prostitution. Watching the TV programme ‘Ray Donovan’ you see all this in the characters of the 3 brothers – two of whom were raped by a priest and one managed to get away.
The final item that I would like to explore from the novel is about knowledge management. Now, I would land on this wouldn’t I? As this was my career for many years in academia – lecturing on this very topic. But it also links into psychology and brain activity.
In the book it says that a fact without context is just a data point, with context it takes on a different meaning – everyone walks through the world influenced by confirmation bias.
Now this is true but the reason behind needs some explanation. The confirmation bias is a result of that person’s life history. It includes their physical and psychological make-up, their upbringing, their education, their experiences.
In fact everything that has up to that point in time, made that person the person they are, with the understanding of the world that they have. In the end that which turns them into a person who believes in the glass half-full or half-empty. Or somewhere in between – everything they see and do is confirmed and explained by what they have seen and done before including the people they have met and the conversations they have had, or not had.
That is not to say that you cannot change. With help you can change your view from half-empty to half-full, but it is difficult. As any psychologist!
Added to which there is the witness syndrome. People in high stress situations tend to blend what they feared might happen/could happen with what actually saw. And they would pass a polygraph as they truly believed what they saw. So in any road accident, ask people what colour and size was the car, and they will tell you different things – and truly believe what they say.
Do take a look at the Huffington Post, if you don’t believe me. Search for eyewitness errors and you will see many. Never ever convict someone on a witness’s testimony. They may truly believe what they say, but it may not be true at all.
See the TV programme ‘The Making of a Murderer’ about Steven Avery in Manitowoc County, USA. Made over 10 years, this is a real-life story of someone who was originally convicted on a witness line-up which was later proved to false – it had been manipulated by the law enforcement officers.
The later murder I am not going to comment on as there is still a great deal of press coverage about what was left out or left in the TV series and the evidence that was or was not presented by the film-makers.
So, did I like the book? Well yes, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing at any length about any of the content.
Was it well written? Yes.