“The ‘what-if-this-happened-to-me’ factor raised the hairs on my arms.” The Guardian, London.
Tom Whitehead had never heard of Operation Gold Dust. Why would he? No reason for a respected, middle-class academic, loving husband and father of two to be aware of an international investigation into internet paedophilia. Until he finds himself at the centre of it. Raided by the police at dawn, and in the full glare of the paparazzi, Tom is hauled away for questioning. About the pornography found on his computer at work. About the fact it was paid for with his credit card. About the overwhelming, conclusive evidence against him. Yesterday he was an academic writing a book about industrial unrest. Today he is a monster.
As he is questioned, he discovers that this was no random search – he has been under investigation for some time. The police acquired his details from the National Criminal Intelligence Service – via the FBI. But why? And how?
Tom needs help to prove he’s been framed, and his lawyer introduces him to Moran, a private detective who has learnt that no one in authority is in any way trustworthy. An opinion rapidly justified as the sinister truth begins to emerge.
Someone has been listening in on Tom’s life. Someone at the global eavesdropping network Echelon. Someone to whom the name Danny Shields, found on Tom’s emails, has rung alarm bells. As far as Tom is concerned, it’s the name of a young man mysteriously murdered during the miners’ strike in the 1980s. But it is also a name that has panicked people in the Cabinet, at Special Branch, MI5 and the FBI. For this goes all the way to the top. And Tom is at the very bottom. Not a good place to be when the vultures start circling…