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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Earned "honorable mention" in the 2005 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Contest in the unpublished novel category.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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I know, I know. "Techno-thriller" immediately conjures up scenarios of global conspiracies and futuristic weaponry. Not this time. This time, author Daniel Springer drops it right into your hand.
College professor Steven Archer and his team are developing a new game played with cell phones, the testing of which is wildly popular with the student body...until student bodies begin turning up during the games. Horrified that players are being killed, and baffled that 911 signals lead responders away from the victims, Steven is thrown into a complex murder case. Together with an old detective friend and a journalism student, he races to decode the sabotaged program before the killer can strike again.
The reader is thus drawn into the intricacies of the virtual world and its supporting technology. Yes, the jargon and descriptions sometimes went whistling over my head, but the story held me anyway. Actually, Springer's descriptions are easier on the layman's mind than most. For one thing, most of us have duked it out with a router or a LAN or a game program by now anyway.
Springer has a real gift for dialog, both as speech and thought. It's natural, familiar, and scene-setting. Students talk like students, cops talk like cops, and that stuffed-shirt college dean we all want to shoot sounds exactly as you'd expect.
The one thing I found somewhat distracting was the editing. I have a feeling the publisher assigned someone from the Romance dept. Characters' hearts race and pound - sometimes twice in one paragraph. Steven Archer is always swallowing hard or taking a deep breath, particularly during the frantic action at the end when the reader least wants to hear about it. But, all said and done, Daniel Springer knows how to weave an exciting, intelligent and satisfying tale. The Wilco Project is well worth the read.
This is a terrific debut novel by Dan Springer. It's a fast paced book, that keeps you turning the pages to want to find out what happens next. A murder mystery using a high tech game as its centerpiece, this book provides a great read for beach or travel. Highly recommended.
The Wilco Project kept me in suspense as the characters came to life. I found it to be a classic "who done it?" murder mystery with a modern day twist. Great read!
I could not put this book down. It was fast-paced and kept me reading. The book is easy to read and created a movie in my head. Someone in Hollywood should make this story a movie!
I absolutely enjoyed this book, and found it difficult to put down. The only drawback (very minor) was the technical explinations of things. They were well done, and informative, but I found myself skimming them over enjoying the excellent writing.
On the really good side, it kept me guessing as to who was the killer!
This was a great read! I had trouble putting it down once I started it, clamoring for the next event to come around right through the end of the book! I would recommend it to anyone, and have done so to multiple people since reading over the weekend.
This book is impossible to put down. Extremely well written; kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. A classic, who-done-it murder mystery mixed with a modern high-tech plot, reflecting the big-brother privacy concerns that have been debated at length in our new mobile world. The characters are very believable; I found myself in the story with them throughout the book. Would make an awesome movie! Encore Mr. Springer!