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.
Praise for The Cipher:
A Junior Library Guild Selection
NY Daily News: “‘The Cipher’ is an excellent thriller for all ages . . . . This book will keep you guessing all the way up to the end.”
Booklist: “Ford follows up his debut . . . with another taught thriller. . . . Readers will speed through this book as they try to solve the narrative’s puzzle before the solution is revealed. Given all the national security leaks making the news, this book about privacy could not be more current.”
Examiner: “Fascinating stuff. . . . The twist at the end is exciting and well done.”
Journal Sentinel: “I love these characters.”
Kirkus Reviews: “[R]eaders get plenty of suspense and high tech high jinks. . . . High-speed fun.”
Library Media Connections: “[F]ast-paced, full of twist and turns, and keeps readers guessing until the final page.”
The Missourian: “A fun, fast-paced thriller . . . .”
Publishers Weekly: “Ford (The Morgue and Me) weaves a twisty, paranoid tale of technology, secrets, and lies . . . Ford capably juggles several threads as he pulls off a complicated series of plans and double-crosses . . . . The end result is an unpredictable story with some audacious twists.”
TMJ4, NBC Milwaukee: “A perfect read for a reluctant teen reader.”
School Library Journal: “The Cipher is an exciting tale with a twist ending that teens will enjoy.”