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ImageThis is a heart-stopping, spaghetti bowl of a thriller.  Smart, complex, graceful and filled with the type of insider information (the tech world, government intelligence, Jihadist hierarchy) that drives me, as a reader, to distraction. 

The story takes place at the turn of the millennium and centers around the title character – Edwin Hoff – a mysterious and brilliant leader in the tech industry.  One of a handful of Ivy League wunderkinds who became an overnight billionaire during the tech boom of the 1990s, Edwin is anything but the frivolous materialist.  Unlike a certain other young billionaire from a different franchise, he doesn’t need to distract himself with a chorus of babes and an array of unusual sex practices.  Nor does he need to work through his ennui – a now painfully clichéd side effect of having too much too soon, or so we readers have been told. 

On the contrary, Edwin hides a dark and secret past and carries the weight of the world on his muscular shoulders.  Instead of offering on-premise sushi bars and other perks to his already spoiled team, he gives inspiration, the chance to make history, and he delivers unapologetic discipline – moral and otherwise.  His own indelible character takes root inside those around him, bringing out qualities they didn’t know they had.  Or had not existed before Edwin came into their lives.  In short, Edwin Hoff is a leader – the kind we ache for.  

And Edwin Hoff is also something else. 

Edwin Hoff, we learn, is a spy of the highest caliber. 

From the dizzying heights of the high tech revolution to the terrifying events of 9/11, The First Secret of Edwin Hoff shows us that nothing is as it seems.  A.B. Bourne takes us not only through the evolution of the characters she’s written, but the reinvention of the world as we know it, and with a skill that’s uncommon for a first time novelist.  She’s like Daniel Silva in a dress, and writes with a classical notion of masculine valor, yet one imbued with the unmistakable touch of a woman. 

The First Secret of Edwin Hoff is well worth the read, and will undoubtedly leave you eager to get your hands on an advance copy of the second secret.  All in good time, Edwin Hoff might say.

A.B. Bourne is the author of The First Secret of Edwin Hoff, c. 2011 Watch Hill Books.  The thriller reached #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue, and spent over a year as one of Amazon’s Top-Rated Spy Stories and Tales of Intrigue.  In her cover life, Annie Bourne is also VP of Business Development and General Counsel at Kinvey, a start-up in Boston, MA.  She mentors start-ups at TechStars Boston and serves on the board of Libboo, Inc.  Previously she worked  at Akamai Technologies in multiple executive roles and managed Akamai’s IPO, raising $234 million in 1999.  Before joining the start-up world, the author graduated from Yale College and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced law in Boston.  She lives in Massachusetts with her family, writing The Second Secret of Edwin Hoff. 

ImageAbout the reviewer:

Victoria Dougherty has for nearly twenty years distinguished herself as a master storyteller, writing fiction, poetry, drama, speeches, essays, and television news segments/video scripts.  

In Prague, Ms. Dougherty co-founded the acclaimed Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting to sold-out audiences in several Czech plays – from Vaclav Havel’s riveting “Protest” to the unintentionally hilarious communist propaganda play “Karhan’s Men.”  Black Box Theater was profiled in feature articles in USA Today, International Herald Tribune, and numerous European publications. 

Currently, Ms. Dougherty lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, and has recently completed a thematically linked Cold War thriller series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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