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Black List: A Thriller [Format Kindle]

Brad Thor
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Black List
CHAPTER 1

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RURAL VIRGINIA
FRIDAY
FORTY-EIGHT HOURS LATER

Kurt Schroeder glanced down at his iPhone while his Nissan subcompact crunched across the estate’s pebbled motor court. No signal. It was the same with his navigation system. He didn’t need to turn on his satellite radio, it wouldn’t have a signal either. Everything had been blacked out about a mile before the gates—just as it was supposed to be.

None of the locals had ever made a connection between the signal loss and the fact that it only happened when the owners of the estate were in residence.

Some blamed atmospheric conditions, while a few local conspiracy theorists pointed to the government, as neighbors laughed them off. Little did those neighbors know how close to the truth the conspiracy theorists were.

A company called Adaptive Technology Solutions had developed the signal-blocking technology for the use of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. ATS was one of the most successful American tech companies most people had never heard of.

Practically an arm of, and indistinguishable from, the National Security Agency, ATS also conducted highly sensitive work for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department, the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the Department of Justice, and a host of other agencies, including the little-known United States Cyber Command—the group in charge of centralizing U.S. cyberspace operations.

Whether via software, hardware, personnel, or training, there wasn’t a move the United States government made in relation to the Internet that didn’t somehow involve ATS.

So intertwined was it with America’s political, military, and intelligence DNA, that it was hard to discern where Uncle Sam stopped and ATS began. Very little was known about the organization, which was exactly what ATS wanted. Had its board of directors ever been published, it would have read like a who’s who of D.C. power. In addition to two former intelligence chiefs, it included a former Vice President, three retired federal judges, a former Attorney General, a former Secretary of State, a former Federal Reserve Chairman, two former Secretaries of the Treasury, three former Senators, and a former Secretary of Defense.

Some believed that ATS was a front for the NSA, while others speculated that the CIA might have been involved in its creation. All, of course, pure speculation. Anyone who knew anything about ATS only really knew about that particular facet they were dealing with, and even then, they didn’t know much. The highly secretive company had worked for decades concealing its true breadth and scope. What was visible above the waterline was only the tip of the iceberg.

The organization was also exceedingly careful about whom they brought inside. Nowhere was the selection process as rigorous as at ATS. Its members shared a very particular worldview, along with a deeply held belief that not only could they shape domestic and international events, it was their duty to do so. Their goals were not the kinds of things they wanted discussed in newspapers and on the Internet. They took great pride in their anonymity.

The corporation’s retreat, with its sophisticated countersurveillance and anti-eavesdropping measures, sat on more than two hundred rural Virginia acres of rolling green countryside. It featured a clutch of buildings, the centerpiece of which was a large, redbrick neoclassical home fronted by thick white columns.

The estate had been named Walworth after the ruins of a small, walled farm at the south end of the property predating the Revolutionary War. Its ownership was hidden behind blind land trusts and offshore corporations. No records existed at the county recorder’s office, and no overhead imagery of the property could be accessed via satellite. For all intents and purposes, the estate didn’t even exist, which was exactly what the powerful forces behind Adaptive Technology Solutions wanted.

Kurt Schroeder had been to Walworth a handful of times, having helped to oversee the installation of several of its computer and security upgrades. But he’d never been to the property for a gathering of the firm’s board of directors. He had only seen the full board together on one occasion, when he had been invited to accompany his boss to a winter board meeting at the ATS property on Grand Cayman.

With its vast wealth, the company hierarchy never failed to do things first-class. The motor court of the Virginia estate looked like the parking lot of a luxury European car dealership, with multiple BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, and Range Rovers. Off to the side, the security teams had parked their armored, black Chevy Suburbans.

Schroeder located an empty spot and parked. He looked into the mirror and dried the perspiration on his forehead. Tightening the knot in his tie, he took a deep breath. His boss, the man who ran ATS, was a lot like his deceased mother. Both had considerably volatile tempers.

Schroeder climbed out of his unimpressive yet efficient Nissan and detected the scent of woodsmoke from one of the house’s many chimneys as he walked across the motor court. Martin Vignon, the head of corporate security, met him at the door. Like the rest of the team, Vignon wore a dark suit and had a Secret Service–style earpiece protruding from one ear. He was a tall man with impossibly pale skin and neatly combed white hair. Behind his back, the boss—who seemed to have a demeaning nickname for everyone—referred to Vignon as “Powder.” Whenever he threw the slur around, most of the employees uncomfortably laughed it off or pretended they hadn’t heard it.

Schroeder didn’t know much about where Vignon had come from nor how he’d secured his job with the organization. Some said he was former military, others said he was former intelligence. Nevertheless, it was widely agreed that the man was discourteous and off-putting. Schroeder had looked into his background once, but the man was a black hole. Everything had been erased. The sick joke that had sprung up around his cold demeanor was that he was possessed of unusual powers; instead of seeing dead people, he created them.

He was the only American on the security team; the rest were Israelis, all handpicked by the security chief himself.

Vignon gave Schroeder a curt nod and waved him toward two of his men, one of whom was holding a metal detector wand. Considering all he was entrusted with at ATS, being wanded was an indignity. These wannabe Secret Service morons were out of control.

Not wanting to cause a scene, Schroeder simply submitted to the search. Before the security team could fully sweep him, though, his boss appeared.

“Where have you been?” the man demanded.

It was a stupid question. He knew where he had been, and Schroeder didn’t bother answering.

“You’d better not have bad news for me.”

Schroeder was opening his mouth to respond when his boss cut him off.

“Not here.” He gestured for him to follow and led him down a wide hallway to an opulent study. A myriad of exotic animal heads adorned the walls. A fire in the fireplace warded off the chill from outside.

Schroeder waited for his boss to offer him a seat, but the offer never came, so he just stood there.

“Well?” the boss asked, as he walked over to a wet bar and poured himself a drink.

Schroeder took a deep breath into his lungs and let it out. “I’m sorry. Nothing yet.”

“What do you mean, nothing yet?”

“We haven’t been able to locate anything.”

“Don’t give me that we bullshit,” the older man turned and said. “I made myself perfectly clear. I tasked you with this, and failure is not an option.”

Craig Middleton was in his early sixties, had a thin build and curly gray hair that resembled a scouring pad. Despite sporting a perpetual tan and laser-whitened teeth, the most distinct feature of his rather unremarkable appearance were his deep-set eyes, which were rimmed with dark circles. Contrary to Craig Middleton’s opinion, he was not an attractive man.

Schroeder eyed the matching purple silk tie and handkerchief that his peacock of a boss was sporting and, masking his distaste, focused carefully on his words. “It’s only a matter of time,” he replied. “Don’t worry.”

Middleton eyed his subordinate as he took a long draught of scotch. “Do you like your job, Kurt?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said do you like your job?”

“Of course I—”

The older man shook his head and motioned for him to be quiet. “I could have taken anyone under my wing, but I took you.”

“And I’m grateful for—”

“I don’t think you are, Kurt. I think, like the rest of your spoiled, entitled generation, you take everything for granted. I don’t think you know the meaning of hard work. What’s worse, I don’t think you know the meaning of loyalty. Do you have any idea what I put on the line to bring you in and raise you up through the ranks? Do you have any idea at all?”

Schroeder knew all too well. If it weren’t for Craig Middleton, he’d be sitting in a federal prison, or worse. “I think you know where my loyalty lies.”

The older man took another sip and then looked at his watch. “Do I? I’m the one who has to go sit down with the board in ten minutes and look like I have zero control over this organization, and it’s all because you aren’t doing your job.”

“We’re talking about a needle in a haystack.”

“We own the fucking haystack,” Middleton spat. “Every last fucking straw of it. We own every rock. We own every drainpipe. We own every hollowed-out fucking tree. You can’t even change your fucking mind without us knowing about it. So don’t tell me you’ve got nothing yet. You’ve got everything you could possibly need at your disposal. Which means you’d better get me something and get it to me soon. Do you understand me?”

Schroeder nodded.

“Don’t you fucking nod at me,” snapped Middleton. “Answer me.”

“Yes, sir,” he piped up. “I understand.”

His boss then raised his hand and pointed at the door. The pep talk was over.

As Schroeder left the house and climbed back into his car, Middleton crossed over to the desk and picked up the handset of his encrypted telephone, known as an STE, short for Secure Terminal Equipment. Inserting a dummy NSA Crypto Card into the slot, he dialed.

After two rings, the call was answered. “What’s the verdict?”

“I think he’s lying,” Middleton stated.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Follow him.”

“And if he is lying?” replied the voice.

“Add him to the list.”

Revue de presse

"[Brad Thor] is arguably the best thriller writer of our time." --Suspense Magazine

“Thor has mastered thriller storytelling with fast pacing and plots that are relevant to American readers." --The Miami Herald

"Anyone who thinks the only thing to fear is fear itself should meet Brad Thor." --Newsweek

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1373 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 386 pages
  • Editeur : Atria/Emily Bestler Books (24 juillet 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004T4KX0U
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°81.919 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Techo Thriller de premier rang 26 juillet 2013
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Le technothriller c'est pas simple.

Il faut etre technique sans faire de technoblubber et rester realiste.
Là c'est executé de maniere simple et efficace.
On a droit a un long episode de 24 sans connerie ou mauvais acteur.

Franchement, il n'y a pas a hesiter, vous allez le lire tres vite, le rythme est soutenu et tout est fluide.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  1.475 commentaires
322 internautes sur 378 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Absolutely SHOCKING--and utterly compelling. 25 juillet 2012
Par Jeff Edwards - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I'd like to begin by taking a moment to mention those who have taken the time to mess with the average reviews of this book who have yet to crack open a single page--whether it be real or virtual. When is amazon going to abolish these enormous jokes once and for all? The author has NOTHING to do (for the vast majority) with e-book pricing. And yet kindle owner after whining kindle owner cannot STOP themselves from bitching about the price of a book they haven't even read in a space DESIGNED to review the CONTENT of the novel they are complaining about.

With that said, I DO feel that the pricing CAN be unfair--especially since the cost to just COPY an e-book is ridiculously low compared with actual printing. The pricing does seem excessive, but then again, so does gas, and yet we continue to pay it--and as long as people pay for it, the pricing won't be going down anytime soon. Gee, nobody is forcing these whining babies to BUY anything. So quit yer bitchin' okay?

On with an ACTUAL review...of a book I actually READ... Brad has been slowly, but definitely improving his writing since releasing his first novel some years back featuring Scot Harvath (Lions of Lucerne). Black List is at once amazingly compelling, and yet shockingly frightening at the same time. It really shouldn't surprise me that the Government has the ability to essentially spy on me at any given moment for however long they want--and yet as I read this absolutely riveting story, it scared the living H#!! outta me. This kind of power in the wrong hands (ie the US Government) can be used to justify incredibly shocking things. I have a hard time imagining my OWN Government may be involved in this manner, and yet I see how the country is going and how those in so-called power have abused it, and can hardly imagine how they haven't somehow used that power to do horrific and illegal things.

Scot Harvath is one bad mutha...he occupies the same elite circles as some of my all-time favorite fictional characters like James Bond, Kirk McGarvey, Jack Ryan, Dirk Pitt and soforth. The thing I really like about Scot is how human he seems to be even in the midst of terrible, life-altering situations. Sure, there is a certain amount of impossibility you have to factor into these storylines in order to achieve the action that todays readers require, but unlike a lot of the hero's that you read about, Scot just remains a cool dude. A man's man that you'd like to have as a friend, one you could call upon when needed--or at least one that you would LIKE to be able to call upon.

The story literally moves with the speed of an ICBM and rarely--if ever--lets up. Scots life is in grave peril from almost the very first page, and the list he finds himself on is nothing short of impossible to get away FROM--at least not without being dead, first. And yet Scot has no other choice but to find those responsible for having him placed ON the Black List and exposing them and as usual, make them PAY. Along the way we have twists, turns and the usual air of authenticity that comes from one who has obviously done his homework. There is GOOD reason why Brad Thor is spoken of as the 21st Century's Robert Ludlum--he really IS that good (and many would say better). If you want to read a cutting edge-of-your-seat techno-thriller, FORGET the terrible Bourne Identity sequels (starting with the Bourne Legacy), read some books by an author who really KNOWS how to raise your blood pressure with the careful use of the English language. A talent that is sorely lacking in the thriller genre these days...and yet one that Mr. Thor has in abundance.

This is Thor's BEST book to date, and that is saying a lot considering what he's written before. Black List is not only good, its stunningly great, and deserves much exposure if for no other reason than to educate American citizens of what our own Government is capable of. Knowledge is power, and to have too much is frightening, indeed. Kudo's Brad for yet ANOTHER winner. Now get on with your writing and give us another hum-dinger, okay?
103 internautes sur 119 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Big Brother is a bad sibling... 26 juillet 2012
Par Jason Frost - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
"All of the technology contained in this novel is based upon systems currently being deployed, or in the final stages of development, by the United States government and its partners."

... and thus begins `Black List' by Brad Thor. I have never read a book that started like the opening sentence and have it turn out bad. This book continues that streak... in spades. To say this story opens with a shocker would be an unforgiveable understatement, so I'll just say that you will NOT be prepared for what awaits. While I'm a huge fan of all of Brad's work, I haven't gotten that "special feeling" about one of his books since `The Last Patriot'. Now to be clear for the slow ones (IE: Kindle owners complaining about price), I have loved each and every one of Brad's books, but every author has one (or two) books in their repertoire that shines just a little bit brighter than the rest. Stephen King has `The Stand', Eric Jerome Dickey has `The Other Woman', Steve Alten has `Grim Reaper', Danielle Steele has... (No. Not a chance), and Brad has `Black List'.

This go round, Harvath goes up against a power greater than anything he's faced yet. How great? Well... they have put Harvath on a list of people to be killed. Usually Harvath is the executer of list such as these but this time, he's the mouse. Per se'. The engineers of this list are a group called the ATS. This group has so MUCH power, so MUCH influence that it's rumored that God calls them before he allows it to rain on D.C. Unfortunately, people who have access to this much power usually don't have access to morals. Think of every terrorist attack that you know of, including 9-11, and multiply it by ten, and you might get close to the type of damage the ATS is planning for America. The only thing that makes it worse is that these are AMERICAN'S that have hatched this plan.

OK actually there is one more thing: (read the first sentence of this review).

We'd like to think that something like this is only achievable in sci-fi novels. It's not. We're on the Autobahn toward an attack like this as we speak. The overall premise to this book is the gathering and use of our digital data. Text messages, internet searches, GPS, eMails, downloads, everything is being watched. Everything is being recorded. Everything is being cataloged. I know you're saying that "yeah I've heard all this before". No. You haven't. Not like this. This book goes way beyond just being illegally tracked by our government. This book deals with what would/could happen if the power mongers who paid their way into office decided to make something happen.

Big Brother is watching, we all know that. What we don't know, or don't care to know, is to what extent? And what happens if Big Brother is a sadistic, power hungry sibling with an unlimited expense account? `Black List' tells us what the history is, what the current state is, and what the future will be like if we (the knowing public) continue to be more concerned about the next `Words With Friends' update than the next "internet security" bill being passed.

This book is blazing fast, even for Thor. And that's good because Harvath is being chased something fierce. When everything we do is monitored is it almost impossible to stay off the grid. Even more impossible... tracking down the guys controlling the grid who are also teamed up with the guys that are the architectures of the grid. This is bone fide Brad Thor book with all the globe hopping, covert operations, shady useless politicians, double taps to the head, up close kills, adrenaline on adrenaline, and pulse pounding storytelling that, if it cause my heart to race as I read, it must cause Brad a near heart attack when writing it.

If the technology written about in this book is true, and I'm 100% sure that it is; so too must be the men and women tasked to use it. And to protect us from it. Thank God for them and their love of America. The proof is in their blood, their sweat, their tears, and their lost lives.
76 internautes sur 88 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 MUST READ AUTHOR , CAN NOT STOP READING 24 juillet 2012
Par Craig C. Long - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I have been reading every book Brad Thor has publish, if you want a roller coaster ride that will not stop and make you think at every hair pin turn then read this book and like me I read "The Athena Project" and got hooked and started reading all the books from the beginning just to get ready for Full Black and Black LIST, This is a must read!!!!
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Scary and very current 25 juin 2013
Par Anthony T. Riggio - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
A review by Anthony T. Riggio of Brad Thor's "Black List".

I had seen this book on the book shelves in books stores and chose to pass on reading it. It sounded like so many of the genre of books that deal with some former CIA, Delta Team member or Seal Team #(whatever). The hero is no longer in the service of their country but are hired on by one of the multitude of private contractors that seem to have become ubiquitous in the running of the government. It leads me to believe our "big and getting bigger" government seeks insulation for itself or setting up some future scape goat. Black List has all of these elements, including incredible physical feats that defy or perhaps provide some escapism for the great number of "couch potatoes" wannabe heroes who relish in these types of books.

This being said, Black List is well written and reasoned out and the author has some bona-fides that qualify him, unlike the growing number of vicarious writers who create these kinds of stories that seem to simply titillate readers who are looking for meaning in their dull lives.

What astounded me was how prescient the author was in writing this book given the disclosures of the NSA analyst Edward Snowden who "blew the whistle" on his perceptions of government abuse. Snowden was not a highly educated person but was making mega bucks, i.e., high six figure income.
I would have thought this impossible but as one of the characters in the book, namely Kurt Schroeder, is not only a drop out, but one who has previously committed criminal acts. The author's premise is that these types are so talented in their computer skills that the government will look the other way. I believe the motives might have included the value of compromised morality. Hard to believe but then fiction is not stranger than reality when we see the Edward Snowden debacle.

The book also points out the increasing use of third party contractors by our government believing them to be more cost effective. In the parallel current reality issue, the contractor is a huge contractor (Boze Allen) involved in so much of what our government does, including the war efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

While I am critical of the premise of Black List, the books revelations support this theory, which I found scary, beyond anything the average American frame of reference could relate to.

I gave this book four stars because it does capture the readers attention and imagination. I received this book as a gift from a friend who shares similar concerns of a government that seems out of control and whose hypothesis is now reinforced by true life.

I would recommend the reading of this book because the theme is so current and worrisome for most Americans who fear that we are now living in George Orwell's world. This could be a wake-up for many of us.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting plot but slow to develop 14 septembre 2012
Par Jay Smalling - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Interesting concept. I found it slow to develop and somewhat confusing. It took
some time for me to identify the various characters and their relationships.
Too much detail. I probably won't read more of this authors work. Kind of
like Tom Clancy's books which I quit reading years ago.
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