Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spotlight - The Logic Bomb by Scott Richard Lord

The Logic Bomb
Author: Scott Richard Lord
Publisher: The Logic Bomb
Pages: 264
Genre: Thriller
Format: Hardcover/Paperback/Kindle

Fiction collides with fact with frightening prescience in Scott Lord’s ripped-from-the-headlines techno-thriller, THE LOGIC BOMB.  

In his exciting debut as a novelist, Lord, a practicing lawyer, mixes shady financial deals, organized crime, and the real-life threat of cyber warfare into an unlikely but always entertaining blend of high drama and comedy. 

Scott Turow, author of the bestselling legal thriller PRESUMED INNOCENT, hails Lord as “a terrific writer. Read THE LOGIC BOMB.” 

Kirkus Reviews praises THE LOGIC BOMB as “rife with tense scenes dominated by gleefully unpredictable characters.”

Lord’s hero, Tom Tresh, is a Los Angeles lawyer living on an aging sailboat while struggling to support his seven-year-old son and an ex-wife. When a friend offers him a “huge payday” if he helps with a shady deal to sell a complex but seemingly harmless computer program to a Hong Kong company, Tresh finds himself in a firestorm of intrigue, because the program is actually a powerful cyber weapon, capable of infiltrating and destroying computer systems. 

Lord cites former National Security Advisor Richard A. Clarke’s 2010 book, “Cyber War,” as one of the chief inspirations for writing THE LOGIC BOMB. Lord explains that a logic bomb is a type of cyber weapon, a "virtual explosive," that can infiltrate various systems and wreck them. 

So-called “logic bombs” actually exist, says Lord, and, according to the best authorities, are already planted in U.S. software programs that run our financial, transportation, utility and – scariest of all – defense systems. 

(Clarke’s book) “describes in great detail the types of cyber attacks which we are all becoming familiar with,” Lord explains. “I decided that one of the cyber weapons he describes, a logic bomb, would be an excellent `MacGuffin’ for my story. Now cyberwar is filling the news. Little did I know!”

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Book Excerpt:

(from Chapter 8)

My telephone rang at 5:20 a.m. When I picked up, a computer voice told me it was a collect person-to-person call from “Charles Papadoks.” I accepted. The only people who call collect these days are in jail.

“Tom, you there?” It was Charlie, of course.

“Charlie,” I yawned, “what’s going on?” There was a lot of crackling on the line. 

“Tom, I’m in jail. They arrested me an hour ago, just came to my house and took me to the police station. All they’ll tell me is that a couple of guys got killed, they think I know something about it.” 

I sat up in my bunk. “Did they say who?” 

His voice came back through the interference, “No, they won’t tell me. But there’s a TV in here, it’s all over the news. Says it happened somewhere in the west valley, maybe near Chatsworth.” 

“Chatsworth?” Naturally. “But why would they arrest you, they think you did it? That’s crazy!” 

“I know,” he shouted, “completely crazy! Tom, there’s going to be some kind of lineup later this morning. They say they got someone saw me in the area. You gotta help me.” 

I came fully awake. “Sure, Charlie, I’ll be there. I’ll try to find out what’s going on.” 

“Tom, you think this could have anything to do with… “ 

“Shut up, Charlie.” 


“Just shut up. Take my advice for once.” They didn’t advertise the fact, but pay phone lines at jail are recorded. I hung up.   

I turned on the television to a local station.  

I could see a helicopter view of a crime scene lit up like a movie set, with crime scene tape and dozens of people milling around. The reporter was saying that two bodies were found near the old Spahn Ranch. The early morning news anchor, clearly hyped on too much caffeine, was playing up the Manson angle and the crawl at the bottom of the picture kept repeating, “Spahn Ranch Bloodbath – Manson Copycat Feared.” A police helicopter was circling overhead, and at least two news helicopters were there to cover the “breaking” news. The anchor quoted an unnamed police spokesman as saying that one of the victims had been killed with one shot in the head, and the second body had been disemboweled. 

The police couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say whether the bodies had been killed in the field, or killed elsewhere and dumped in the field. An eager young reporter at the scene, dressed in a bright red leather miniskirt and a matching jacket, reported that there was a swastika tattooed or cut into the forehead of the second victim. 

Smith answered his cell phone. “We have a witness, Tresh. She was walking her dog a few minutes after midnight. Says she saw someone coming from this field. Charlie’s business card was in one of the victim’s pockets. 

When we called him, he told us that he’d been up here earlier, visiting a house in the area. He wouldn’t explain what his visit was about. Denies being here last night.” 

“Why the quick lineup? Don’t you need time to beat a confession out of him?” 

“Very funny. I’m pretty sure it’s not Charlie, but I gotta follow up. And all Charlie’ll say to us is he wants his lawyer and you’re it.

 Either the old broad recognizes him or she doesn’t. I’ve got no interest in a phony ID.” 

“Why arrest him then?” 

“He’s a flake, Tom. I just wanted him to be somewhere I could find him.” 

“How far away was she from the guy she saw, assuming it was a guy of course?” 

“About fifty feet she says. She was near a streetlight.” 

“What have you told her about Charlie?” 

“Just that we have a man who might have been in the area, can she come down and look and see if he’s the man she saw.” 

“I’d like to go to the crime scene first, if you don’t mind.” 

“Sure. We could use a first-class mind like yours, help us with any clues we might have missed.” 

I ignored the sarcasm. “You still be there in an hour?” 

“Yeah.” He hung up. 

The first victim was a young man with a blond crew cut, a beatific smile, and a small red round hole in the middle of his forehead. It struck me that if you didn’t know what had happened, you might think the young man was one of those Western devotees of the Hindu religion, lost in the joy of

meditation under the stars, quietly chanting his mantra as he lie still. His feet were splayed out and were clad in leather sandals. His hands were flung loosely at his sides, the way yogis do when they take the position of savasana, the corpse pose. Of course, if you looked closer, you would notice the small

trickle of blood from the red spot on his forehead and the fact that he didn’t seem to be breathing. He wasn’t in a yogic trance or pose. He was a corpse. 

And I knew him. His name was Chet Harris.


About the Author: 

Scott R. Lord has been a highly successful criminal and civil trial lawyer for 35 years and is active in the practice of law with the law firm of Cohen & Lord, a P.C., located in the Century City area of Los Angeles. Scott is a devoted student of Italian language and literature. He is the father and step-father of six children and lives with his wife and children in Santa Monica, California. 

His latest book is the thriller, The Logic Bomb.

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