The Woman Who Stopped Traffic: a good Silicon Valley thriller

The Woman Who Stopped Traffic by Daniel Pembrey is a Silicon Valley thriller about a wildly successful social networking startup that's on track to becoming a publicly-traded company. If the IPO goes through, the young founder (who owns 40% of and its lead investor (very loosely based on Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand) will become multi-billionaires.

The IPO plans are jeopardized when, during a presentation to investors and press, a page that has an ad for child sex trafficking is accidentally displayed on the projection screen, causing alarm among the audience.' official response is that a rogue user created the page. Its executives promise to take steps to put a stop to such illegal content.

Of course, this being a thriller, there's a deeper problem at than evil users selling sex slaves on its site. One of the early investors in, based in Aruba, is suspected of being involved, but no one knows who the investor is. The chief scientist of hires Natalie Chevalier, the ex-head of security at a "large Seattle software company," to get to the bottom of it before the IPO goes bust. Murder, mayhem, and MMORPGing ensue. Read the rest