Tag Archives: cyber thriller

The Enigma Factor (The Enigma Series Book One) by Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A cyber security tester and genius looking to find solace in his work after the loss of his mother finds his world turned upside down when he is targeted by cybercriminals in authors Charles V. Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey’s “The Enigma Factor”, the first book in The Enigma Series. 


The Synopsis

Jacob Michaels, computer network security-tester extraordinaire, tries to settle into a quiet life of work to polish his technology skills after the death of his mother.

Cyber-criminals are hunting for new victims when they target the brilliant programmer to try to seduce into joining their cause. More people are hunting him than just the Russian cyber kingpin.

As Jacob sets off to find those who target him, he discovers other technologists’ views which puts him in direct contact with previously unknown global experts.

Buzz, when looking for the easy way inadvertently crosses the line to the dark side then begs his best friend Jacob for help. Jacob, brilliant as he is may not have enough experience to win this on his own. Of course, having your identity erased makes helping anybody else secondary to your problems.

Jacob battles against global cyber masterminds using his knowledge of programming, identity theft, and hacking, but learns more about security and encryption when he connects with the distractingly beautiful encryptionist Petra.

Jacob’s challenge is how to keep ahead of the criminals and identify who to trust.

In their debut TechnoThriller, The Enigma Factor, award-winning authors Breakfield and Burkey weave a complex tale of danger, intrigue, and international cyber combat. They use a relevant technology foundation, then layer on travel, romance, humor and mystery

Like rust, the cat and mouse game of the new cyber warfare age never sleeps.

The Review

This was a tense and adrenaline-fueled cyber-thriller! The authors did an incredible job of making the narrative and characters feel alive and vibrant on the page. The amount of detail and experience the authors have in the world they have created feels truly authentic, due in large part to their own work in the world of cyber security and high tech. This authenticity helped elevate the narrative and keep readers invested with every twist and turn. 

I was immediately enthralled with the character development in this book. The shocking loss early on for the protagonist leads to so many different questions that keep the reader invested, from who his unknown family truly is to who the shadowy organization is that is hunting him down. The way the authors are able to infuse so much humanity and emotion into a tech-heavy narrative and keep the reader invested in the protagonist’s journey helped make the mystery of this book that much more engaging. 

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and action-packed, authors Breakfield and Burkey’s “The Enigma Factor” is a must-read cyber-thriller. The tension and atmosphere the authors create and the rich world-building the story takes on make this story truly one of a kind. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10


About the Authors

Breakfield is a 25+ year technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He’s also a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking. 

Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world focusing on optimized customer experiences. Rox writes white papers and documentation, but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction. 

Together these Texas authors create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today in exciting stories. Visit their website for more information and free stuff. 

Interview with Author John May

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Fame and fortune haha. In my spare time, I started writing stories and creating comic strips around the age of ten or eleven. When life wasn’t fun, creative writing was my escape as a child. It was a great outlet for my imagination and a way to express myself untethered from the restriction of my English teachers because not only did I come up with some wild stories, I was also a very creative speller which drove them crazy.

As a teen, I became an avid reader. Believe it or not, I read all of Charles Dickens’s works while riding on a bus to my after-school/weekend job in a restaurant kitchen. But I think it was Hemmingway’s books that really inspired me to write longer stories. I wanted to be that storyteller. It wasn’t however, until the author of the series of books that I was reading to my children died that I began writing. The kids were upset there would be no more books, so I took it upon myself to write something similar for them as a Christmas present. The only problem was that the short story turned into a novel and with my busy schedule as a doctor, it took two years to complete. By then, my older son was “too old” for it. I decided after my youngest grew up, that although I enjoyed writing my children, I really wanted to write for adults.


What inspired you to write your book?

My family and I experienced the panic and chaos created by the enormous North East blackout of 2003. We were sitting by a campfire completely oblivious until a neighbor approached carrying a shotgun telling us that most of North America was dark. He said it was a Russian cyberattack. My twelve-year-old son couldn’t sleep that night as he was frightened that we were under attack and that enemy soldiers were breaking into the house. That feeling of being in the dark, not knowing the truth was truly terrifying. For the next five days, our part of the world was not functioning – no credit cards – no cash – no ATMs working – the gas pump wouldn’t pump – store shelves were empty – the experience still haunts me and played a large part in motivating me to write Lethal Keystrokes.

In addition, I have always had an interest in technology and computers. In fact, before medical school, I worked as a programmer for IBM. As a physician, I became concerned about the impact of technology on children i.e., too much screen time. But with the intrusion of social media and the ‘internet of everything,’ I feel there is too much connectiveness without true human contact. My biggest concern outside the medical/social sphere is our security – individually and collectively as a nation. There are too many electronic eyes and ears out there. Are they helping and protecting us or making us vulnerable to those who wish harm upon us?

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I hope that this book causes people, companies, and governments to think about their digital security. We also need to be aware that the voids, created by Western nations in places like Somalia, where there was intervention and then complete withdrawal, are filled by groups that could become terrorist organizations.

What drew you into this particular genre?

To be honest, I was attempting to write a very emotionally charged true-life novel about some of my experiences in cancer and palliative care. It was tough. I needed to step back and ‘reset’. Previously, out of a more academic interest I had researched some of the key political and technological issues key to Lethal Keystrokes. I took that information and started writing something that was pure entertainment, so fast-paced and exciting that you can’t put it down and a total escape from the trials of day-to-day life. Writing it worked wonders for me and I hope that everyone that reads Lethal Keystrokes enjoys immersing themselves in the action. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

That is an interesting question. I’m somewhat surprised by my answer. It is not the main antagonist but his sister that I found the most fascinating and challenging character to write, and from the reaction of a few earlier readers, they agree with this choice. She starts out with the same vitriol as her older brother but as she spends more time in Western society, she stops focusing on all its flaws and begins to appreciate the positives, including the opportunities for women. She has to battle through the conflicts between her traditional role that involves support for her brother and her own journey to personal freedom. How does she bridge the chiasm between Islamic culture and her growing acceptance of America’s ideals?

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Marketing has changed so much. If you aren’t good with social media, you’re doomed so I embraced it despite my misgivings about technology. I do not profess to be an expert but Instagram has been quite useful as well as Twitter. Still, I really don’t like the feeling of anarchy – everyone has their own truth – that exists out there in the digital world. Bottom line:  technology is a tool, not a lifestyle.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Write a one-page, beginning-to-end, synopsis of your plot. Stream of consciousness writing is unlikely to be successful. Writing toward a known conclusion ends up moving you farther, faster and easier than just sitting down and pecking away, hoping that it will all fall into place. If you can’t come up with the ending you don’t have an idea worthy of your time and energy. And work it is. A novel is much harder than a short story. Keeping an audience engaged for 300 pages is no easy task. So have a complete idea and be disciplined by writing something every day when possible. 

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m still writing the book about my medical experiences.  I have also started a second book featuring the heroes from ‘Lethal Keystrokes’ as they combat a threat to America of a different nature. Hint: It will use more of my medical knowledge.


About the Author

John D. May was born in London, Ontario. He has balanced multiple passions over his life, including his work as a biologist, his career as a physician, his volunteer service at medical outreach clinics in Guatemala, singer-songwriting, and storytelling. He has written several songs for well-known Canadian artists and released two CDs, available on iTunes and Spotify under the name Johnny May. His time is divided between his rural farm property near Toronto and the south of France.