Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.
As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both. When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?
Echoes follows the story of Mallory Park, a not-so-normal teenage girl who lives two lives. In the day, she goes to school, does her homework, takes care of her brother and her father who suffers from PTSD and keeps to herself. But come night and she is Echo Six, in a group called the “Forum,” where she hacks into organisations and corporate associations that do a lot of wrong things. The creator of the forum, a hacker identified only as “The Asker” assigns various hacks to the different members of the Forum, and Echo Six, being an elite hacker, gets the most difficult hacks. For the most part, Mallory manages to keep her two lives separate. Until, of course, she doesn’t.
The book starts with Echo Six in the middle of a hack, and it has got to be one of the most thrilling beginnings ever! It had absolutely no action whatsoever—only thrills—and yet it was more interesting to read than an actual hunting scene! What I also really liked about the book was how accurately a teenage girl was portrayed. Mallory may have been very different from normal teenagers—what its her being a mathematical genius and a very good hacker—but at the heart of her, she was just as unsure and insecure about herself as the rest of us girls were in our teenage.
Mallory Park is the reason you should pick up this book. Her father is an ex-Marine who undergoes some sort of PTSD through the book, and it is heartbreaking to see that the teen in the book has to be the adult. Not only that, but Mallory’s mother left the family a few years before the events of the book unfolded, and try as she may, Mallory still hasn’t gotten over that. Then there’s her younger brother that she has to take care of. The whole thing should feel like too much of a responsibility on a young girl, too many burdens on a very young shoulder—but Mallory handles everything with grace. She does what she can, and sometimes even more to make sure that her dysfunctional family functions, even on the grassroots level. This strength and courage is the reason I basically forgave Mallory any thing she could have done in the whole book. She was troubled herself, but berated herself so much if she ever let her family down. Family is important—it’s everything—and this book brings this out perfectly.
As Echo Six, Mallory is much more at ease. At least until hackers from The Forum start to go missing. Mallory tries her best to keep both parts of her life separate but one way or another, the two coincide and then everything goes up shit’s creak. Mallory makes a friend along the way, whom I absolutely loved. No spoilers, but seriously. You have to read this person, and fall in love with them. The book is written beautifully—there is not one dull moment in it. It’s not a very long book by any standards, and Laura Tisdale’s writing left me completely entranced with all the characters in the book—the good and the bad. If you’re looking for an introduction into the Cyber Thriller genre, definitely consider reading this book!
Laura grew up in Woking, England, and studied music at the University of Surrey.
She has written two musicals. The most recent is fantasy story The In-Between, the concept album for which featured performances by nine leading West End stars. Since it’s release, it has been played on BBC Radio 2, performed at West End Live and received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and Facebook.
Laura’s first musical, Faerytale, was showcased by the Guildford School of Acting at the Electric Theatre. She has also written the scores for two nationally touring plays, The Haunting and The Perfect Murder, and been Music Advisor for a third, Dead Simple.
As an arranger and orchestrator, Laura has been Musical Associate for The Night of 1000 Voices (2010, 2012), Kerry Ellis and Brian May’s Anthems: The Concert and The Wonderful World of Captain Beaky with Vanessa Redgrave, Joanna Lumley and Hugh Bonneville – all at the Royal Albert Hall. She was also an arranger for the Cantabile Christmas Cracker at the Prince of Wales Theatre.