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MALICIOUS-cover-03Reviewed by Alysia George

With changing times and advanced technology comes a new breed of criminal: the cyber voyeur/extortionist. Unfortunately, although most people enjoy the benefits of modern technology, they often do not understand it well enough to comprehend the risks involved in using it, making them vulnerable to crimes they might know nothing about. As James Raven’s novel, Malicious, portrays, women are unwittingly allowing online predators to virtually enter their homes during their most personal moments via an instrument they may never even consider: the webcam that is built into their laptop computers.

The mysterious villain of Malicious has enslaved numerous women by remotely gaining access to their webcams and spying on them. He is watching them when they think they’re alone, even invading their computer files and emails, searching for anything that might be incriminating. When he hits pay dirt, he strikes, making his presence known and placing demands on his prey. If they choose not to comply, they will face his damning consequences. But the questions hanging in the balance are these: what is his ultimate motive, and, furthermore, how far is he willing to go?

Enter Detective Robyn Tate who is by all accounts an upstanding officer and an asset to the Houston Police Department. But Robyn’s personal life, the secret one she thinks no one else knows about, manages to ensnare her in the slave driver’s malicious plot. Despite her job title, Robyn is unfortunately mostly ignorant in the ways of internet crime, and her position makes her especially vulnerable. To add terror to her situation, she begins to connect the dots between her own perpetrator and a murder case she is working. Can they really be related, and is there anyone she can trust enough to ask for help?

From the first paragraph, Raven draws his readers in, grabs a hold of them, and doesn’t let go until the very end. The characters of Malicious are interesting, while the riveting story is full of unexpected twists and turns. One of the most compelling aspects of the book is that it could happen to anyone who leaves herself open to an intrusion due to simple ignorance. Ignorance is indeed not bliss, and its consequences can be severe. Reading Malicious is sure to be an eye-opening experience, as it serves as an important reminder that privacy is a relative term in the digital age.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by James Raven. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.