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The dot-com millionaire turned college professor rushes to the scene and is devastated to learn that the victim died playing a cell phone game he invented. When his project manager becomes the prime suspect, Steven is thrust into the complex murder case against his will.
After a second student is murdered, everything is at risk—the fate of his project manager, the lives of the college students and Steven's own career and reputation. Together with an old detective friend and a campus cub reporter, Steven must hunt down the killer using all of his expertise before he strikes again.
#1 bestseller in the Mystery/Thriller category and to #10 Overall bestseller on Fictionwise.com in December 2010.
Earned "honorable mention" in the 2005 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Contest in the unpublished novel category.
Selected as a "semifinalist" in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, making the cut from 5000 entries down to 836 Semifinalists.
Publishers Weekly review:
The WILCO Project combines murder mystery with elements of a technological thriller, blending the genres in a deftly written manuscript. The author provides a gripping opening with a female college student murdered while playing a mysterious campus-wide game in the woods. Readers are soon introduced to the rest of the cast of characters: Dr Steven Archer, former Internet entrepreneur turned professor, who leads a team of young computer programmers in the creation of the ultimate cell phone game; Bobbi, a school reporter, determined to find out the truth about the murder, even if it means putting her own life in jeopardy; Jonathan Holden, creator of the game and all around cad; Patricia, the angry assistant on the team who is sleeping with the head of the wireless company, Larry Hershman; and finally, Peter, a techno-geek who is invisible. After Archer discovers that the dead girl is Jonathan's ex-fiance, he realizes that the WILCO project is a game of hide-and-seek, in which players use the phone to locate and destroy enemies. As Archer finds himself investigating the first murder and a subsequent one, he is led down one path after another. While this plot is a new take on an old thriller genre, the author delivers a well-executed thriller.
The characters are likable and are depicted with believable goals, aspirations, motives and characteristics. The dialogues sound authentic and are helpful in moving the story forward. I especially like the description of the game and its various play modes. It seemed like a game that college age students, in particular, would enjoy playing. All-in-all, I found this novel to be a nicely-structured mystery that conveys a realistic and quite visceral sense of atmosphere throughout. For example, in the huge, ice-cold room filled with the ear-deafening noise of enormous mainframe computers, I could feel the goose bumps rise on my arms as Bobbi gleams information from an unattractive computer geek. Later, playing the game, she is outside in the hot humidity of a dark night. Running across campus, I felt my heart-pound and my pulse race right along with hers, as she races to capture the prize. The realistic descriptions kept my eyes glued to pages as I read with a voracious, gluttonous appetite, greedily devouring the words until, at last, reaching the thrilling conclusion, I was sated.
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Steven Archer, dot-com millionaire turned college professor, is on top of his world. His interactive cell phone game is succeeding far beyond his wildest dreams. The students running the project have some issues, but they're working just as hard to make the game a winner. Then a phone call early one Saturday morning turns everything upside down. Archer can't believe how fast things are tumbling down after the discovery of a body, of a female student participating in the game trials. The evidence points at the project manager, a student on track to be named to a fabulous job once the game goes public. But Archer has a hard time believing this particular person would ever do something like, until a second body is found.
Daniel Springer's concept of a techno-thriller where the focus is on the characters rather than the technology works extremely well. The reader is captured on the first page and can't stop until they get to the end. The reader has difficulty figuring out exactly who the villain is, and will be surprised at not only the motive but also the person when it's announced after a chase with the game running. Springer's talent for using a few words to get his point across paints a breathtaking picture of gamers going for a hot new game where they play in the out of doors rather than from behind a computer screen. The dialogue is quite believable, as are the reactions of those involved. The Wilco Project whetted my appetite for more works by this talented author.
I read THE WILCO PROJECT by Dan Springer on my recent vacation, and it is a perfect read when you want an escape. It's a fast-paced, keep-the-pages-turning thriller with mystery, suspense, and romance rolled up in a completely believable dose of technology. The game that Steven Archer, dot-com millionaire turned academic, has invented is in its final testing phase. The craze for this game is sweeping the campus; students are clamoring to join in and try it out. But when one student, and then another, is murdered while playing, it's a classic race against time to find out who the killer is.
THE WILCO PROJECT reads like a movie, and would make a great one! The writing is immediate, direct, and accessible. Besides the pacing, what I particularly liked about this book was the technology. Dan Springer was able to weave in descriptions of how this game could work in a believable way that didn't make my eyes glaze over. The details of software development, from project design through testing and release, made me think the author knows something about the process, which was confirmed by reading his author bio. In addition, he nailed archetypes in the corporate world, using academics as the microcosm: the confident leader; the power hungry adjunct; the unsociable nerd; the cocky rising star.
If you like thrillers, with some romance thrown in, along with a serious who-done-it that you probably won't figure out until the very end, you'll really enjoy THE WILCO PROJECT. I hope Dan Springer is working on another thriller.
The Wilco Project is a captivating and fast moving murder mystery. It contains modern up-to-date technology along with the excitment of a traditional murder mystery. Although it is easy reading, it is captivating and filled with suspense. A must read for mystery lovers.
This book had me burning the midnight oil, turning the pages to find out what would happen next. I could not put it down. The writing was descriptive and the use of technology in the story line was ingenious. If you love murder mysteries this is a must read!
An excellent book to read. Sharp.. Inventive..A real page turner.. I would give or recommd. this book to all age groups.
Great reading! It is entertaining and engaging, combining a college campus and mobile technologies, the book should appeal to fans of mysteries, thrillers or those into technology and the gaming industry. It would make a good video game or movie.
The Wilco Project was a great story that came to life as I read it. I could not put the book down and wished it wasn't over when I was done. This book would be a perfect story for a movie and I hope to play this game in real life one day! Looking forward to a sequel!?
This was a fantastic, fun mystery thriller that had me from the first page ! The story had twists and turns that I wanted to follow along with. The characters were likable and interesting and I hope to see them again. Cant wait for his next book !!
This is a great summer read. Yes, there is some interesting tech talk that is up to date and scary for those "big brother" watchers among us, but more importantly there is what is really important to a good book - characters, story, twists, and actions.
The main characters are well thought out and people you might actually know. The really good thing was that the main characters and even some of the minor players are so well fleshed out that you want to read more about what happened to them in the past, and what is happening after the book is over.
The last chapters are as good as any Dean Koontz novel in pacing action between a few different places, well done.
Keep an eye out for another book with these characters