Deaver, Jeffrey. The Broken Window.
6 words: Cousin framed; serial killer at large.
Lincoln Rhyme's cousin is arrested for murder and the evidence seems conclusive. Although Lincoln has some unresolved problems with this cousin who used to be his best friend, he agrees to look into the situation.
What he discovers is that not only has Arthur been well-and-truly framed, but that there are a number of other murders in which the evidence seems incontrovertible and the accused are convicted of crimes they did not commit.
The murderer uses sensitive computer information to make sure that an innocent person is convicted, and so he proceeds, two victims at a time. Strategic Systems Datacorp--a huge datamining company--has some of the answers.
The really scary part is that the information-gathering and identity theft portions of the novel are well researched and the possibilities of corruption extend far beyond what I could have imagined.
This novel is absolutely unnerving--not so much the Lincoln Rhymes narrative, but the possibilities. Identity theft has frightened us all, but the sheer volume of information available about each of us and the ways that information can be manipulated is truly chilling.
Deaver lists several Web sites at the end of the novel for readers interested in knowing more about the right to privacy. He also mentions (and quotes from) No Place to Hide by Robert O'Harrow, Jr.
Here is the quote from No Place to Hide that opens The Broken Window:
"Most privacy violations are not going to be caused by the exposure of huge personal secrets but by the publication of many little facts.... As with killer bees, one is an annoyance but a swarm can be deadly."
Fiction. Mystery. 2008. 414 pages.