Posted by Cory Doctorow, November 12, 2007
I’ve just finished Rick Dakan’s fantastic, funny, charming geek caper novel “Geek Mafia: Mile Zero,” the sequel to his self-published book “Geek Mafia.” Dakan’s sequel is just as much fun as the first volume, a great, rollicking story of crosses, double-crosses, and triple crosses among conflicting tribes of nerd grifters who are working Key West for every penny they can take out of the island.
In Mile Zero, the crew from the first book has settled into an almost domestic existence on Key West, running a series of smart, low-grade scams, from bar-crawls to after-hours parties. Bee, the engineer, has retreated to an armored command center in their headquarters, from which she monitors the hundreds of spy-cams they’ve lined the streets of KW with, making it truly their town, every coming and going theirs to see. Paul and Chloe are in love, and more or less happy, and they’ve befriended Sandee, a hot, macha, snappy grifter who helps them run their action.
The action starts when three different Crews of grifters wash up on their shores — one run by Winston, the charismatic ex-Weather Underground guerrilla who mentored Chloe; one run by Isaiah, a heavy operator and super-elite hacker; and a squad of drunken, intemperate surfer dudes who have grifted the whole Caribbean cruise ship industry. These folks have a major proposal for Paul, Chloe and their Crew — but first, they have to figure out who killed the beautiful fixer who was supposed to be at the meeting. Mile Zero is a labyrinth of twists and turnabouts, filled with charming geek humor, thoroughly likable characters, and a relentless plot that you won’t be able to put down. Don’t take my word for it — it’s Creative Commons licensed, and you can download the text and check it out for yourself.