Airport security takes it time to make sure that electronics, anything metal, belts, rings, bracelets, laptops and cell phones are scrutinized before getting on a plane to make sure that there are no reasons to suspect a terrorist is boarding the flight. But, all too often as we go through the checkpoints and gather our belongs sometimes we overlook the obvious like the case of a MacBook, the name on the outer case and while going through and getting to the other side you pick up an item that is not yours but never realize it. Michael Tanner accidentally picks up the wrong laptop while going through security at L.A.X. on his way back to Boston. Thinking he has the right one he places it inside his briefcase and boards his flight. Unknowingly when he takes out the laptop to do some work he then realizes the mistake. But, there is nothing he can do about it at this time. Hoping to correct the mistake and retrieve his own MacBook once he is back in Boston proves futile. The staff at the airport is of no help and since this is not uncommon and the lost and found, has no record of this error he needs to research and search the laptop on his own. Hoping to be able to figure out the password and learn the owner of the laptop will make Michael realize that in this case some mistakes can be deadly such as this one. Just whom does the laptop belong to and what does he find on it that places him in danger? Michael Tanner created and founded Tanner Roast. He is the CEO of this company that makes designer coffee. Traveling to many places brings him in contact with many distributors and a variety of potential clients to sell his special brands of coffee. Using his marketing skills and his many special blends and honing in on exactly what the customer might want to suit his/her business, Tanner’s coffee is better than most and choosing special locations and the perfect blend or coffee for the client helps him market his product and add to his client base. But, this one mishap and what he learns when he uncovers who owns the laptop will take him on a downward spiral that will cost lives and more. Tanner Cold Brew is unique unto itself and although he’s created it and has been promised clients that he thought he had closed the deal with something happens and for some reason his world is taking a nose dive and his product although first quality is being sold out the lowest bidder. When trying to retrieve the password it takes him several tries and realizes that it belongs to a state senator. Underneath this turmoil his soon to be ex-wife Sarah wants a divorce and the money she invested in the company to help give her a new start away from him. No one except a few that are in his inner circle realize that the business is failing but most know he is losing clients. Learning what is on the computer and that classified documents have been downloaded and stored illegally, he begins to realize that he needs to confide in someone and hope to find out what these documents are and why they are classified and their content dangerous. Lanny or Landon Roth is a reporter for the Boston Globe and using a flash drive he downloads the information on the laptop onto his flash drive hoping to find out more about these documents and write the best story of his life hoping to finally get the recognition he deserves. But, talking on the phone and alerting Michael that he uncovered something changes it all when you learn what happens next. Michael learns from his contact that there are intelligence secrets that will affect our country on this laptop but before they can meet he learns that his friend might have committed suicide but did he? Giving back the laptop might place him in danger but keeping it might do the same as someone breaks into his home, cuts out a pane of class, disarms his security cameras and does not come away with the grand prize of the laptop. Because at the other end of this is the other person who owns the laptop and has discovered his identity.
Senator Susan Robbins owns the laptop that Michael Tanner has and when he realizes what’s in it not only is he in danger but his Lanny the man who was definitely murdered. These Russians hired to find the laptop burned down his business and entered his home. But, will they stop at this? Chief of Staff Will, Abbott, is enlisted by the Illinois Senator to get the computer but his methods are unorthodox and seems to be failing hence the dangerous operatives. Tanner learns that this is serious and when his friend the reporter dies his life takes on a dangerous twist, Money scarce, his business failing and having to find a place to hide being the next target of the thugs that Abbott hired but there are more. There are others that are enlisted by the National Security Agency who deactivate all of his online accounts. Privacy just what does this mean? These secrets fall under what is labeled a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility where they are housed. Tanner is chased and as a result kills one of his pursuers.
Things spiral out of control when he enlists the help of his friend Carl and his ex-wife Sarah. Car chases, death threats and Will pretending to be a client wanting to make a deal for coffee for his phony company. But, denying he has it brings him to the attention of the NSA that kidnaps him, questions him and is now following his every move. The laptop has to be given to someone but will it be the Senator or the government? What would you do if you knew that you every move on your phone, computer, IPad and any electrical device had a special camera that the government could turn on to monitor your movements, words, emails and thoughts 24/7? That is what these documents are dealing with it’s a special program called Chrysalis that the government has developed and Tanner has the information on flash drive and the NSA knows everything and every move he’s making but so does Will and the people he hired to take Tanner out if they have to in order to get what they want. Author Joseph Finder created an intricate web of lies, governmental deceit, greed, power so dangerous and so delicate as if it is created from a fragile piece of cut glass that if placed or moved the wrong way will fall into a million pieces which seems like what is about to happy to Tanner. Warned about the consequences he enlists the advice of Sarah’s ex-husband Jerry hoping he will provide some viable answers or solutions to his problem. But, Michael’s problems are just starting as his internet, bank, phone and all types of communication and emails seem to gone as the NSA appeared to make him vanish. With Sarah’s help he hopes to get some money and her real estate connections places to hide out until someone else finds him. Threats come from many directions as Will Abbott has his boss mention someone’s name during her interview and a man named Gary is now the object of the NSA and other government agencies as they gave him an indefinite leave without pay and are looking into his files, records, computer, articles and entire life. As Will finds this not really too upsetting for himself as he was the one that set this in motion he now realizes or thinks his only solution is to take Tanner out himself. Gun lessons for him as someone spots Tanner and offers him a different out in this situation. Who can he trust? No one is who or what he or she appear to be and in the end should he have given up the laptop and avoided this horror in his life? What does he hope to gain and will he give this to a paper or who will take what he knows and leak it to the press and the public?
Deals within his company get stolen and a major one goes bust as Karen his sales manager is worried how they are going to continue in business. But, Tanner it taken in by the NSA and questioned and told he might not have his life back until he gives them the laptop. Threats all around even a Russian offers him asylum if he hands it over but someone else is on the mark and although nothing might happen right away you never know whose watching. Earle Laffoon was from the NSA and his manner and threats he spouted laws, rules and defined willful retention of information to the national defense. But, Michael was smart, hard to track and in the end he found just how they were able to get to him without his knowledge. The ending is a face off between him and one other player hoping to safe his career, his life shielding his boss yet saving himself. An ending that brings the story full circle, a simple laptop with top secret documents as the main character of this novel as it is stolen from his gym locker, nowhere to be found, hiding out you might say hoping that someone finds him but not wanting what he has downloaded revealed. Tanner Roast is at the other helm of this book as Michael proves that he too can undercut and lash out when necessary. What would happen if the government signed off on this program? What would happen if everyone knew what everyone was doing and could see and hear his or her movements in this digital and technological world? Mishandling of information, secret intelligence that was classified, people higher up that would do anything to keep this quiet and not get it leaked, a State Senator that knew her career would be over if the information about what she had on her laptop got out and a chief of staff that would risk his family, his life and career to cover for her in order to profit himself. Characters and events ripped right out of the headlines in the news, realistic situations, a strong plot line easy to follow and characters that create the suspense, fear, and scenes vividly and graphically depicted once again author Joseph Finder hits high marks with his outstanding mystery thriller.
Greed, deceptions, lies, cover-ups, strong arming, NSA tactics and information that could destroy national security as Will Abbott, Michael Tanner, NSA operatives and many others fight to get what accidentally started the entire process created by our ingenious author Joseph Finder THE SWITCH!