Hi, dear readers! The summer sun has started burning down on us, hope you’re staying cool, safe, and hydrated. Mumbai with its hot and humid climate is already making us live on endless supplies of natural coolers like coconut water and nimbu paani. Air conditioners are serviced and ready to use while home plants are being watered twice a day. Staying indoors is a good and welcome option, better when you have a good book to keep you company. Thanks to #BookChatter, my bookshelf has an eclectic collection of titles, one of which I’m reviewing today. Zero Day by S. Hussain Zaidi promises to be a thrilling read and surely packs a punch there!
About the book
While most of us are getting increasingly dependent on gadgets and the internet for work, finances, entertainment, and connectivity, do we realise the risk we’re exposing ourselves to every day? Anti-social elements and the dark web have numerous ways to snoop, influence, and handicap lives and countries. What if someone decides to wage a war and has the backing and funding for it? Can we beat them at their own game?
Zero Day starts with an anonymous email that lands in the inbox of Maharashtra ATS head, Shawaz Ali Mirza from Muntaqim claiming responsibility for a cyber or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in Mumbai. An expert team with him, his protégé IG Cybercrime Vikrant Singh, Major Shaina Verma from NSG, and others is quickly put together to get to the bottom of it. What follows is a cat and mouse game that involves politics, corruption, intimidation, and lots more.
Hacking and cyberterrorism aren’t new terms for us. However, one only feels and sees real danger when it’s staring them in the eye. One needn’t fire a bullet when damage can be done with a few taps on the keyboard. Zero Day highlights how the weaknesses in our system can be picked up and used against us if one intends to. It is a fast-paced thriller that makes us reflect, as common citizens, on the lax security measures we blindly count on.
Internal politics, interpersonal relationships, and nationalism lie at the core of this book. Where on one side a sitting CM is trying to downplay a major breach, a trained attacker is causing harm out of spite on the other. It also shows how different institutions coming together for an assignment can get tricky. The author has helpfully educated his uninformed readers about bots and dark web chats with basic information about them. Terrorism now hits us in ways we cannot even imagine.
I appreciate that every character has a role to play in the story and is given space and background. I liked the warm relationship between Mirza and Vikram. The author’s storytelling is crisp and effective. He hasn’t stretched any incident or plot and keeps it interesting. Zero Day sounds like the end of a countdown and is rightly so. Even with experts putting in their best and working round the clock, are they able to avoid it? Are they equipped to stop Muntaqim in his tracks? Read the book to find out.
Zero Day is one of those unputdownable books that I read in one go. If thrillers are your thing, definitely go for it!
My rating: **** 4/5 stars
About the author
S. Hussain Zaidi has an impressive career as a journalist spanning 20 years during which he worked for reputed names like the Asian Age, the Indian Express, and then Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror. His book Black Friday was made into a critically acclaimed movie by director Anurag Kashyap. He has a mastery over terrorism-related research which reflects in his books. He’s now a writer, producer, publisher, scriptwriter, and mentor for new talent.
Available in: Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle Edition
You can order your copy of this book from Amazon.
Written as part of the Book Review Program by Blogchatter
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