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Foolproof    by Barbara D'Amato, Jeanne M. Dams & Mark Richard Zubro order for
by Barbara D'Amato
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Brenda Grant and Daniel Henderson have been best friends forever, and have gone through a great deal together, starting with the loss of friends, colleagues and Brenda's fiancÚ in the World Trade Center (they were saved by their habit of meeting for coffee before work at a young Internet security comany.) After inheriting the comany which employed them in the aftermath of 9/11, they re-oriented it to pursue 'a hidden agenda: terrorism detection and prevention.'

Now Foolproof opens with a countdown (in days) to a Presidential election (in which electronic ballots will play a big part), and a key killing. Computer geek Sarah Swettenham (working for specialized software firm AllTech) is efficiently shoved into traffic by a skilled assassin. After Brenda learns that Sarah (with whom she'd been in college) had made an appointment to meet with her, curiosity draws both Brenda and Daniel into danger.

Daniel worries about Brenda's arid love life, which gets a lift from a new client, the 'startlingly good-looking' Allen Cooper, who works for a government antiterrorist agency. He initially hires them to keep tabs on terrorists worldwide, but later adds on the task of vetting an electronic polling program before the election. In the meantime, Daniel's own love life goes awry after his lover Nate objects to housing his 'toxic teenager' of a nephew.

Readers meet the incumbent President Kierkstra (who is too much of a caricature for my taste) along with the funder who pulls his strings, the 'richest man in the world', Alexander Cabot. When Brenda's digging into Sarah's death results in a bombing of their company's Cairo office, Daniel is launched on a Bond-style adventure through Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, and Italy, a trail of bodies in his wake, and encypted data as the prize.

This mix of conspiracy theory, espionage, election fraud, and fast-paced action comes together on the eve of the Presidential election, when Brenda and Daniel go public with their findings in an electrifying finale. Despite its rather trite villains, I enjoyed Foolproof very much and recommend it to you as a thrilling - and thought provoking - read.

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