BY: SHAWN ROHRBACH
Imagine dilettantes of Occupy Wall Street meeting and going head to head with the masters of the New World Order. One such rebel, Peter, turns on his rich banking family and takes up with a MIT computer-science drop out, Melissa. They plot to destroy the computer systems supporting the New York Stock Exchange. However, Peter’s family takes a dim view of their activities and moves to intervene. Even if Peter and Melissa can outsmart the law—and cybercrimes private investigator Grady Marcs—they’ll have a hard time escaping the wealthy globalists who will stop at nothing to keep their money safe and their dark secrets hidden.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Rogue Scion by Shawn Rohrbach, Grady Marcs is a cybercrime private investigator, called in when a large bank discovers money missing from its depositors’ accounts. Grady goes to work, uncovering a scheme to bring down the New World Order by a couple of rogue misfits, both from influential families. But these two don’t just deal in computer theft, easily turning to murder to get what they want. As the bodies pile up, a chain of events is unleashed with far-reaching consequences that could ruin more than a few lives and bring down the world’s economy.
The story has a strong and complex plot that, despite the high tech cyber stuff, is still easy to follow. The author takes us into a world of crime and high finance, mingling high tech and conspiracy theories with good old-fashioned murder for an exciting read.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Rogue Scion by Shawn Rohrbach is a mystery/thriller combining new world order conspiracy theories, high tech computer crimes, and a mentally disturbed serial killer. Our protagonist, Grady Marcs, is a cybercrimes private investigator who is asked to investigate when a hacker robs a bank via a computer. Gone are the days when bank robbers wore masks and carried guns. All today’s bank robbers need are a computer terminal, a mouse, and a whole lot of high tech knowledge. But while our hacker is good, Grady is better, and he uncovers far more than just a simple bank robbery. Positive that no one can track her, Melissa, the hacker, targets the NY Stock Exchange in an effort to stop a wealthy group of bankers, she calls the elite, from taking over the world. But Grady isn’t the only one who can track her, and Peter, a son of one of those wealthy banking families soon shows up at her door. Rather than trying to stop her, Peter is a kindred spirit and he encourages her, even while knowing that her way will never work, as the elite are just too powerful. Peter has his own ideas on how to them bring down, and it doesn’t involve hiding behind a computer.
Whether or not you believe in a group of wealthy bankers trying to take over the world’s economy, Rogue Scion hurls you into a world filled with misaligned loyalties, dark secrets, and players with no conscience who don’t care who they hurt as long as they get what they want. It will keep you turning pages from the first word to the last.
The first calls were routine. Three accounts had been drained and the total losses were somewhere in the range of three thousand dollars. This wasn’t much to be concerned about, really, for the Sunday morning shift in the call center. The only people really concerned were the yuppies trying to pay for brunch or get some cash out to go mountain biking. The call center was slow otherwise and everyone gathered around the birthday cake.
By noon, there had been fifty more calls, and now the total was near fifteen thousand dollars. Still, no one seemed concerned. People did not talk about it, since each operator had only taken a few of the calls. At break time they started to compare calls and place bets on who would take the call for the greatest amount of lost money.
The manual said to ask the individual if they had given the pin number to someone in the family. That was how it ended normally—a son or cousin admitted to a drug habit, admitted to stealing from the accounts, and the family was in crisis. The best part was the bank didn’t have to pay. Once in a while one of those sharp, steely-eyed criminals watched someone key in their pin, knocked them down, and muscled the money out. The cameras on the cash machines caught all that and, if there was a recognizable face, the arrests were fairly routine.
There had been a story in the news about identity theft and how people got pin numbers in various ways. They ended up stealing money from accounts and the bank always blamed it on careless customers. In a few rare cases, the bank paid out money when it was certain it was not the customer’s fault. There was never any mention of these. The official line on the website was to teach the customer about identity theft, how to watch for signs of financial abuse in the family, and to keep pin numbers secret.
The cake was gone by noon. Sherry Anne sat back at her station and took the next call. “Northwest Bank and Trust, how can I help you?” she said, wiping chocolate from the corners of her mouth.
“My account. I was trying to withdraw money and it said I had none. That’s over twenty thousand dollars.”
Sherry Anne smiled and stood up, waving her hands. She flashed all ten fingers twice in the air. Everyone who could see raised their arms in a salute.
“I’m very sorry to hear that, sir. Is there anyone you may know who might have known your personal identification number? Often people will send someone to the store or the bank and give their pin out and then the—”
“My kids don’t steal from me, you bitch. I am missing twenty grand. I need that money in my account.”
“Sir, I need to take some information and pass this along to our security department—”
“Just put my money back so I can eat something today.”
“Sir, our security department is closed now. When they open, first thing Monday morning, they will have your information and can begin their investigation.”
This exchange carried on for twenty minutes and, in spite of the customer’s insistence on getting his money immediately, Sherry Anne convinced him the office was closed. He finally cooperated by providing pertinent information. She marked the case “low priority” and noted at the bottom the customer had admitted using the debit card frequently in front of his children. That was for calling her a bitch. She submitted the ticket for Monday review, even though the security office was open and taking cases.
Sherry Anne guessed by the time she arrived at her primary job on Monday morning, the customer would be raving mad and probably very hungry. She scanned the activity of the account. There was a regular automatic deposit of eight thousand three hundred and thirty dollars. Payroll. His take home was three times her gross and he lost twenty grand? She laughed. Then there were the restaurant purchases—one hundred and thirty dollars average. There were liquor store purchases. Lots of gas. She guessed this guy spent more eating out and drinking than she made on both jobs.
She went to get some ice water. The call center was very busy now. Her supervisor stood above her cubicle and yelled for all call center personnel to return to their desks immediately. The calls were put on hold as one customer after another reported five hundred, two thousand, and five thousand dollar thefts from their accounts. The call was made to the Director of Security, Gene Surrey, and he, in turn, called the Bank President, Mary Reichert. They met at the call center and started to print out the intake reports. When it finally slowed at five, more than two thousand customers had called. The total reported loss was over two million dollars. Gene Surrey surmised the thefts were all related. He began retrieving the log of network activity, saying he would begin to piece together a profile and grab pertinent information about the location of the perpetrator. Mary Reichert told him to stop.
“In my office, now.” Mary called the shift supervisors into a special meeting. Gene Surrey was asked to leave half an hour into the meeting. Her final words to the supervisors were clear—no one speaks of this to the police or the press until further notice. She called Gene Surrey in and gave explicit instructions for him to speak only to her about any matter in the case. He nodded and left.
The call center had quieted. A few customers who had called earlier tried to gather more information about their lost funds. The operators had nothing to report. It seemed the worst was over. The operators looked sullenly at each other. They were expressly told to say nothing. They were to go home and act as if the event had never happened. They were told there would be more calls, no doubt, because some people who had not tried to access their funds on Sunday would find out on Monday or Tuesday. They were told the nature of the event was so sensitive that speaking about this to anyone might tip off the perpetrator and he would never be caught. They didn’t like the instructions but needed the job. The next shift supervisor was advised by Gene Surrey and sent to the floor to manage the swing shift.
Mary Reichert ordered that every customer who had experienced a loss was to receive an immediate cash deposit from the bank of ten percent of the total amount they reported missing. They would be told the investigation was ongoing.
By Monday morning, she had permission from the board of directors to replace all lost funds immediately. She ordered this done and sent a congratulatory email to all staff, commending them on their professionalism and citing this as the main reason the issue was resolved so quickly.
Sam Wilkerson, VP of Operations, abruptly left the call center, dialed a number on his cell phone, and waited. “Grady? I need to talk with you. Fast.”
© 2015 Shawn Rohrbach