Jack Sharpe Series, Book 3
From the publisher:
“Pepper comes through again with this clever tale of how cyber sabotage of elections, coupled with highly concentrated ownership of traditional media operations, can undermine American democracy.”–President Bill Clinton
A twisty, one-step-ahead-of-the-headlines political thriller featuring a rogue reporter who investigates election meddling of epic proportions written by the ultimate insider.
Investigative reporter Jack Sharpe is down to his last chance. Fired from his high-profile gig with a national news channel, his only lead is a phone full of messages from a grad student named Tori Justice, who swears she’s observed an impossible result in a local election. Sharpe is sure she’s mistaken…but what if she isn’t?
Sharpe learns that the most important tool in any election is the voter file: the database that keeps track of all voters in a district, and shapes a campaign’s game plan for victory. If one person were to gain control of an entire party’s voter file, they could manipulate the outcome of virtually every election in America. Sharpe discovers this has happened–and that the person behind the hack is determined to turn American politics upside down.
The more he digs, the more Sharpe is forced to question the values–and viability–of the country he loves and a president he admired. And soon it becomes clear that not just his career is in jeopardy…so is his life.
The concept of fixing elections is probably as old as the election process itself where a majority of votes for a candidate or a solution will cause that person or solution to become the winning result. David Pepper has come up with a method that he ties in with scientific study of each and every person voting in a district, working to bring in voters probably voting as the study demands and allowing those opposed to fade away. Pepper’s explanation of the method he describes does apparently have the possibility to turn an election by working to make sure that voters in favor of their desires do come into the casting of votes.
Jack Sharpe was an ace reporter who has lost his job when he apparently violated his newspaper’s policies of political correctness. He has been blackballed by his former employers and cannot find another job due to the stigma he is under. Out of the blue, he is contacted by Tori Justice, a graduate student who swears she has evidence of an election being fixed. Jack agrees to meet her, studies the data that Tori has gathered, and finds that the impossible has happened when a man elected was not even expected to come close.
Tori explains that the most important tool in any election is the “Voter File.” Via computer analysis, habits of every person eligible to vote are cataloged and able to be analyzed for probable voting habits. While involved in getting more information, a long term plot is described which involves massive interference by foreign interests in order to set lucrative deals for themselves by bringing in their own selected candidates. These candidates are obviously bought and paid for and stand to gain much more money when they take office.
A very mesmerizing novel that could be a real wake up call if the methods described by Pepper prove feasible. The book ends at a point that illustrates the probability of further novels involving Jack and Tori. In the meanwhile “The Voter File” is a mark of literary excellence.
6/2020 Paul Lane
THE VOTER FILE by David Pepper. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (June 2, 2020). ISBN: 978-0593083932. 432 pages.