by Thomas Maurin
Category: Adult fiction, 285 pages
Publisher: Cultivating Change LLC
Published: November 2014
Available in: Print and E-book format: mobi (for Kindle)
Will send books: USA and Canada
Tour dates: Jan 7 to 28, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is only one sex scene and it isn't explicit.)
This is a story about three smart, successful people who were once fast friends in college and have now been thrust together again in an unlikely, multi-layered investigation with far-reaching international implications and billions of dollars at stake. One is a forensic accountant for the SEC, one beta tests hardware and software for the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defense, and the third is a wildly successful entrepreneur, software developer and venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.
They get caught up in the hunt for a corrupt Swiss banker intent on finally unloading the last of the gold stolen by his father in World War II; a violent, narcissist leader of a Mexican drug cartel making his move to take over as the head of all cartels in Central America; and the daughter of a murdered Bulgarian arms dealer making the deal that will give her mother financial stability and get them both out of the increasingly unstable arms business.
The plot unfolds as financial crimes committed by insiders put common criminal activities to shame in a world where technology has increasingly insinuated itself into our lives to good and bad effects.
Meet the Authors
Thomas Maurin is the pen name of husband and wife writing team Bonnie B. Hartley, Ph.D., and Michael T. Hartley, CFP®. They both write non-fiction books and articles regarding financial and family business topics and have delivered talks on those subjects internationally over the last thirty years.
At the core of Broken Trust, the three protagonists struggle with moral ambiguity. They find themselves thrust into situations where the best option for moving forward involves breaking laws, withholding information and obtaining information using questionable means all in the quest of doing something good. This is a contemporary ethics dilemma faced by individuals, businesses and governments which our protagonists argue about in Broken Trust. Their perspectives about using botnets evolve and in the future books of this series they will only assemble botnets with the permission of those individuals who are contributing unused personal computer capacity to their 6D program to prevent and solve crimes.The Moral Ambiguity in Broken Trust
When Broken Trust opens, Fitz has to take over her colleague’s investigation of a private bank in Basel Switzerland after he is in a suspicious hit and run accident that could have also injured her had Gary not pushed her out of harm’s way. She is already worried because she has just found out that one of her father’s trusts holds co-investments with the development bank under investigation. Should she tell her boss about the conflict of interest? If she does, what will happen to Gary’s investigation? What will happen to her father and her extended family? Part of her family’s culture has been to protect one another, to keep a low profile and be reserved about the family’s wealth. If she protects her father and extended family, what will happen to her job at the SEC?
Before she has time to sort any of this out, Fitz finds herself face to face with her ex-husband, Charles Haines. Both are surprised since it has been twenty years since the marriage was annulled. Neither of them reveals to Fitz’s boss any details of their personal history, just that they knew one another at Harvard. They both think they can partition this work assignment from their personal history and unresolved challenges. Both Charles and Fitz are operating under the false assumption that the other person initiated the annulment, when in fact it was Fitz’s father who manipulated both of them. Fitz’s father is probably the most conflicted character in Broken Trust, and the least aware of moral ambiguity and the unintended consequences of his early morally compromising choices on his family. Just how much damage he has done to the people he wanted to protect comes to light as Fitz, Charles and Jamie unravel the development bank director’s manipulation of the gold market and the even more heinous acts that lead to his inner moral decay.
Charles faces his own ethical challenges regarding his design and use of 6D. It not only uses computer memory of others who had been infected by malware designed to provide computing power to 6D when not being used by the computer’s owner. No information on the computer was ever compromised and the owner had full access to all of the computer’s services whenever they wanted, so was anything stolen? Legislators are working to update laws, codes, and regulations to catch up with the rapid advance of technology. The ethics of white hat and black hat hackers are necessarily under scrutiny in Broken Trust and within contemporary society in general.
In Broken Trust, 6D also takes advantage of security weaknesses in a number of government-sponsored databases, like airline manifests, etc. raising issues around who controls information and who should have access to it.
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