Abra is looking for a romantic suspense novel that is rather hackalicious:
I have a candidate for “Help a Bitch Out.” This is a book I read in 2002
that I think was technically a thriller, but with a strong romantic element.
Our hero is a young man who’s about college age, who spends all his spare
time hacking online. He’s good at evading the law enforcement officials who
troll the web trying to catch hackers, but there’s one particular official
who is especially hot on his trail. The guy also has a roommate who has
cerebral palsy. The roommate has a girlfriend, but the main character
Anyway, in the course of his hacking, the guy uncovers information about a
crime or something, that leads to the crime bosses coming after him.
There’s a wild chase through the city, with the guy on his skateboard. At
one point he hides in a garbage can. He’s so scared he pees his pants, and
is sure the criminals will catch him when they see the pee leaking out of
the garbage can, but he’s saved by his large sneakers, which catch the pee
so it doesn’t leak out.
In the course of the adventure, the guy finds a girlfriend. When they
finally catch the bad guys, the girl uses all the publicity to advertise the
rock band that she and the guy (and the roommate?) have started, on the
principle that “anything people hear 4 times will stick in their minds.”
Toward the end of the book, the guy goes online, and the law enforcement
official who’s on his trail sends him a message—chat room? instant
message? He notices that the official’s typing is weird—each word appears
all at once, and when he makes a typo, it’s with a word that sounds similar
rather than a word that’s spelled similarly. He realizes the official is
using voice recognition software to type, and that it’s his roommate, in
the other room of the apartment, who uses voice recognition software because
his cerebral palsy makes him unable to type.
At the end of the book, the guy swears off hacking, because the crime bosses
were too much trouble. He and his girlfriend are happy together, and he’s
grown closer with his roommate…it feels like a great happy ending with a
lot of character growth. Then, there’s a stupid epilogue titled, “In case
you want a sequel…” in which he and his girlfriend are on the rocks, and
he’s back to hacking.
Can anybody help me find this book? I’m very curious as to how well my
memories of it stand up to the real thing. The version I read had a tan
cover with mostly words on it—I don’t remember any cover picture.
Crime bosses are, like, SO annoying, it’s true. Anyone remember this book?