Five Star, Dec 2002, 24.95, 202 pp.
In 1983, Alison Grant is transferring data from microfilm to computer as part of her job at the Justice Department's Information Processing Division. However, Alison finds a glitch when THE BENNIE ARNOLDO FILE turns up empty except for a name code. She informs her supervisor Samuel Goldman who checks with the log keeper Eleanor Harrison to see if she knows what happened. Eleanor promises to investigate, but turns around and informs Deputy Attorney general Charles Barfield, whom immediately works to hide the case that he does not want anyone to know about.
Sam gives the archival back-up file to Alison, who prints a copy of the Arnoldo document. However, before she loads the data, Sam takes back the file and tells her to work around the case as his superior Charles is allegedly evaluating what happened to prevent future mistakes. Unable to resist, plus being the recipient of a threatening birthday card, Alison decides to discover if an illegal action has occurred. Treasury Department Special Investigator Mark Ferris is her only hope to learn the truth and to stay alive.
This is an exciting historical mystery (unbelievable that twenty years feels historical due to quantum changes in IT). The story line moves faster than a modern day processor as Alison serves as a shining example of a solid bureaucrat who cares. Though why Charles' associate threatened Alison as he did provides little logic, John Russo furbishes a delightful thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner