Book Friday: The Cipher by John C Ford

I’m just reading so much that I might have to have another day for reviews!

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It’s been another week of reading a book that’s an action pack thriller. I received The Cipher from Penguin imprints for an honest review…and boy was it a wild ride!

Let’s take a look at The Cipher by John C Ford!



*Hardcover, 320 pages
*Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Viking Juvenile

Robert “Smiles” Smylie is not a genius. He feels like he’s surrounded by them, though, from his software mogul dad to his brainy girlfriend to his oddball neighbor Ben, a math prodigy.  When Ben cracks an ancient, real-life riddle central to modern data encryption systems, he suddenly holds the power to unlock every electronic secret in the world—and Smiles finally has a chance to prove his own worth.

Smiles hatches a plan to protect Ben from the government agents who will stop at nothing to get their hands on his discovery.  But as he races from a Connecticut casino to the streets of Boston, enlisting the help of an alluring girl, Smiles comes to realize the most explosive secrets don’t lie between the covers of Ben’s notebook—they’re buried in his own past.
Eerily close to reality and full of shocking twists, this techno-thriller reveals how easily the private can become public, and just how dangerous it can be to encrypt our personal histories.

My Review:  I’ve never really been into books about hacking and computers. I love thrillers and decided to give this one a chance. The Cipher was an intense techno thriller that kept me turning the page. Smiles’, Robert Smylie, father created a business that could hack into emails, credit cards, stock trades, government secrets and nuclear codes. In reality this could happen so it makes this books a bit scary. Smiles father wants to leave all his money to charities and not his son. His mother ditches the family when he’s two and he’s raised by a great step-mother when his father remarries. Smiles has a genius girlfriend and a nerdy autistic neighbor, Ben, who all play apart in the book. Ben is a math genius and is invited to attend a Math Conference in Fox Creek Casino in Connecticut. While there he’s given a challenge to solve the Riemann Hypothesis and if he succeeds he will receive a million dollars. Smiles attends the conference with Ben and finds his long lost mother as the speaker. While Smiles is stunned Ben cracks the code that now can make him hack into anything. However, now Ben has the key to unlock all the secrets in the world and that can get him killed.


Each character plays a part in the plot twists. Smiles is our main character who has a passion for his friends, given that reason he goes with Ben to the conference. As a teenager you question everything and that’s what Smiles does throughout this whole wild ride. Ben was a genius who had the quirks of an autistic kid and John did a wonderful job at making him realistic.

This book was a fast pace intense read. I thought I wouldn’t understand all the algorithms, encryptions and math stuff, but John did a great job at helping the reader understand what’s going on along with Smiles. The descriptions about the codes are explained in detail all throughout the book. So I wasn’t too lost on what was going on. I didn’t feel like I had to pull out my dictionary or google algorithms and codes. John did a wonderful job teaching the reader about hacking and math all the while writing a great story. I learned a lot from this book….and it makes me a bit scared of my computer. How safe is it?

Should you read it?  Yes. The plot had so many twists sometimes I couldn’t keep up. I could definitely see this as a movie because in this techno age, this stuff could happen. It’s a bit scary but I couldn’t put it down until the plot came together at the end. It was a nice wrap up to a thrilling adventure.

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 About the Author:

I’m John C. Ford, author of The Morgue and Me.  I grew up outside Detroit, Micjohnhigan before venturing off to Stanford University, where a desperate search for spending money led me to a reporter position at The Stanford Daily.  The pay was terrible, but discovering how much I loved writing was priceless.

After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School and practicing law in Washington, D.C. for a few years, I began to dream of writing something spicier than a legal brief — something like the crime novels that I grew up reading (and still do).  The result was my debut novel, The Morgue and Me.

I am living once again in the Detroit area, and I love hearing from readers, librarians, and anyone with an interest in my book.  You can contact me at

Follow John on twitter,his blog,

Add to Goodreads

Pre-Order the book here!

This book makes me wonder….how safe our are computers? How safe is my bank account?

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Love Tawney Twin

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