After two enjoyable novels based on unconventional romances with supernatural elements, Bill Conrad has now switched gears and set his sights on a more grounded techno-thriller, and I am happy to say it’s possibly his best work yet.

I won’t dive too deeply into the plot for fear of giving too much away, but suffice to say that in the opening chapters an underground cable is found out in the middle of nowhere — a cable transmitting classified information. We quickly learn this cable has been tapped by a nefarious group of individuals looking to retrieve sensitive information for the French and Russian secret services.

As with many globe-spanning thrillers, there are a host of characters to follow on both sides of the Atlantic. None of them come across as two-dimensional, however, as every chapter opens with a mini biography that helps flesh out the various protagonists and better understand their motivations.

My favourite character is definitely FBI Director Russel Norton, a no-nonsense workaholic whose loyalties are tested multiple times over the course of this first novel as his investigation leads him to question the incorruptibility of his superiors.

All in all, it’s a gripping, fast-paced read. I’m looking forward to the next two books in the series.