Zero Risk – Simon Hayes

The author Simon Hayes came up with the theme of the book in the middle of the night and I am glad he remembered when he woke up and created the gripping novel that became Zero Risk.

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As usual, it’s hard for me to share a book review without sharing too many spoilers, but if you decide you like the taster below and our thoughts on the book then you can grab yourself a copy* and dig in. I can say that it is a book you will find yourself buried in and you will want to find out what happens.

zero risk

23 December 2024… Rob Tanner should have been enjoying a rare day off from his life-consuming work as Chief Operating Officer at one of the country’s largest banks. But a panicked phone call from a senior colleague forces him to put his Christmas plans on ice: more than a thousand of the bank’s accounts have seen their balances increased by a factor of ten. Exactly ten. Through the inexplicably simple addition of an extra zero. And when the inflated balances prove to be neither early Christmas gifts, nor a botched computer system upgrade, but the most sophisticated cyber attack in history, Tanner finds himself in the eye of a “Black Swan’ storm no one predicted, but anyone could have anticipated.

Tanner enlists the help of brilliant American cyber security expert Ashley Markham, but the attacks only worsen: bank balances rise remorselessly and spread to all the nation’s banks. The only clues to the hacker’s intentions are cryptic daily emails, centred on Hieronymus Bosch’s medieval representation of the seven deadly sins―and packed with colourful artistic and cultural references―taunting Tanner and the newly incumbent Prime Minister, James Allen.

With financial markets―and the very world as he knows it―on the brink of collapse, Tanner races against the clock to decode not just the bizarre emails but their deeper meaning, and the implications for who he can really trust. All the while, his former boss “The Toad” is seeking revenge… and answers of his own.

This enthralling, multi-layered debut follows the story of a disillusioned banker facing unthinkable financial Armageddon, where money has no value, stock and bond prices are meaningless, and the economy is destroyed. Can Tanner unravel the mystery of the hacker’s obsession with Bosch, sin and retribution before modern society returns to the dark ages?

I must admit that this is not usually my kind of book, but I have decided in 2024 to expand my reading horizons and to try new styles of writing and this one had me hooked. There is a lot of detail and the author has worked hard to make you come away thinking “what if this actually happened?” because it could as we face a world where hackers and digital masterminds have the ability to cause chaos worldwide with a few keystrokes and button pushes. This makes the book all the more interesting to read and somewhat chilling too.

After I read it, I passed it to my husband, who is a fan of this genre of book and he thoroughly enjoyed it, and was very impressed by the storylines, and the mixture of mystery, psychological warfare and cyber crime that makes the book a very compelling read.

This is definately a good taster to dip your toe in the water of this style of book and one that we would recommend for anyone who already loves the combination of themes as well as being fast paced.

And it does leave you wondering what would happen if the story in the book actually did happen, because, could it…? Something to ponder. Maybe read the book to find out how it all ends.

You can find the author of Zero Risk Simon Hayes on Instagram as @MySimonHayes on X as @MySimonHayes.

I look forward to further writing from him, he’s certainly given me a taste for a type of book I might not have ventured into before.

Posted in Book reviews and tagged book review, Financial Crime, Simon Hayes, Thriller, Zero Risk.

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